WIENER, NORBERT (1894–1964), U.S. mathematician; inventor of the science of cybernetics. Born in Columbia, Missouri, Wiener was a child prodigy. He was the son of Leo *Wiener, historian of Yiddish language, literature, and folklore and professor of Slavic languages, who made incessant intellectual demands on his son (and who did not reveal their Jewishness – a fact discovered by Norbert Wiener only when he was in his teens). Wiener began to read scientific books at four, and by seven was familiar with the theories of natural scientists, such as Darwin, and with psychiatrists such as Charcot and Janet. He entered Tufts University at 11, and obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard University at 18. At Cambridge, England, he studied under such world-famous personalities as the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the mathematician G.H. Hardy. Wiener's main innovation as a mathematician was to develop a mathematics based upon imprecise terms reflecting the irregularities of the physical world. He sought to reduce these random movements to a minimum in order to bring them into harmony. During World War ii, he applied his concepts to work connected with antiaircraft defense, and this led to advances in radar, high-speed electric computation, the automatic factory, and a new science he created called cybernetics, a word he coined from the Greek word for "steersman," meaning the study of control. This followed his attempt as a mathematician to find the basis of the communication of information, and of the control of a system based on such communication. Wiener suggested the use of cybernetics in diagnostic procedures and indicated the similarity between certain types of nervous pathology and servomechanism (goal-directed machines such as guns which correct their own fixing malfunctioning). His book Cybernetics (1948) was a scientific bestseller and transformed him into a public figure as the pioneer of computer development. For the last 17 years of his life he refused to take part in any military research. His book The Human Use of Human Beings (1950) sought to alert the layman to the dangerous social consequences of his theories. He wrote an autobiography in two parts: Ex-Prodigy (1953) and I Am a Mathematician (1956).
"Wiener, Norbert." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wiener-norbert
"Wiener, Norbert." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved October 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wiener-norbert
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.