Norbert Wiener

    The name of this man, who was keenly interested in the problems of natural science, became known to the whole world after the publication of his book "Cybernetics" in 1948. Norbert Wiener is a well-known American mathematician who made a significant contribution to the theory of communication, who participated in the creation of the first computers.


    Nothing foreshadowed such a sensational success. In 1946, while in Paris at a mathematics conference, Wiener met with a publisher who invited him to write a book about the feedback between automata (machines) and the human nervous system.

    Having started working on the book, Wiener pondered for a long time on its title. He wanted to find a word that somehow united the ideas of management, information and communication. He opted for the Greek dictionary “cybernetics”. (The ancient Greek thinker Plato was the first to use this word; Amper in the 19th century proposed the so-called science of managing human society.)

    “Cybernetics” came out of the press with great errors (including because Wiener was unable to keep proofs), and the publisher did not appreciate the commercial future of the book. But she became a true Beseller, one of the most popular books of the XX century. The word “cybernetics” gained extraordinary popularity, and Wiener's ideas made a breakthrough in the consciousness of mankind.

    Norbert Wiener was born November 26, 1894 in the city of Columbia (Missouri, USA). His father was a polyglot, Slavic, literary, translator. From early childhood, the boy studied ancient languages, natural sciences, read a lot. He was a child prodigy: he graduated from high school at 11 years old, higher education institution - at 14 (at the same time he received the title of Bachelor of Science), at 17 he became a master of arts, and at 18 - a doctor of philosophy in mathematical logic. After receiving a scholarship from Harvard University, Wiener did an internship at Cambridge and Gottingen Universities. He was familiar with Bertrand Russell, Godfrey Hardy, Edmund Landau, David Hilbert and other famous mathematicians.

    After World War I, Wiener achieved outstanding results in mathematics. In the 20s. XX century he defined the so-calledWiener process , and published a number of remarkable works on harmonic analysis, which served as one of the starting points for Gelfond's works on the theory of Banach algebras, a major event in mathematics of the 1930s. Since 1932, Wiener is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    During World War II, Norbert Wiener dealt with applied problems related, in particular, to the needs of aviation and anti-aircraft artillery. He supplemented the theory of extrapolation and filtering of random processes created before the war by A.N. Kolmogorov in a series of works published for official use (due to their secrecy). Wiener used a mathematical apparatus that was not part of the traditional engineering education. Therefore, the book, published in a yellow cover, received among the engineers to whom it was addressed the name "yellow danger."


    American mathematician Claude Shannon “translated” it into a simpler engineering language, and since then constant contacts have been established between these outstanding scientists of the 20th century.

    During the war, Wiener organized a seminar in Princeton, in which, in addition to mathematicians, neurophysiologists, specialists in communication theory and computer engineering participated. This seminar actually became the beginning of a scientific field, which later received the name "cybernetics".

    The name Wiener has become very popular. In the last years of his life, he traveled a lot, promoting his ideas. He also visited Moscow, where he met with mathematicians, biochemists and psychologists, made a report at the Polytechnic Museum.

    Winner died on March 19, 1964.

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