Wiener, Norbert

Tagged: Author

(1894-1964) US mathematician and author who established the contemporary sense of the word Cybernetics in his highly influential nonfiction work Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948; exp rev 1961). Some of his further speculations in this field appear in The Human Use of Human Beings (1950) and in God & Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion (1964); the latter influenced Frank Herbert's Destination: Void (1966), which freely borrows Weiner's terminology.

As W Norbert he published two short sf stories, "The Miracle of the Broom Closet" (April 1952 Technical Engineering News; 1954 F&SF) and "The Brain" (April 1952 Technical Engineering News; in Crossroads in Time, anth 1953, ed Groff Conklin). A novel, The Tempter (1959), deals with the disjunction between scientific research and industrial exploitation of a new Invention, but is not sf. Ex-Prodigy (1953), autobiographical nonfiction looking back to Wiener's early fame as a child prodigy, is an interesting insider study of a kind of intellectual Superman. [JC/DRL]

Norbert Wiener

born Columbia, Missouri: 26 November 1894

died Stockholm, Sweden: 18 March 1964

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