Cybernetics: History and Biographies

   Posted by: Bricoleur   in cybernetics

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Cybernetics - A Start Here Guide
Your first time here? Welcome, I'm glad you've dropped in.... David Soul (aka Bricoleur)

[dhcs: May 2010 | note that this is essentially a mirror of a Squidoo Lens constructed while I was involved in their beta program.  It has not been kept up-to date since early 2006; with my recent  “rediscovery” of it I will be bringing it up to date here, refreshing it, including fixing or striking any connections that have suffered from “web link rot” and perhaps this refurbishment might even lead to reflecting it back to its original site to see if it can fulfill the original design intent….)

This lens details with the development of Cybernetics (and to a lesser extent General Systems Theory) and the early research and philosophies of the founders of the disciplines.


The how , why and whereof this Lens

  • to be determined

Connective Summary

Cybernetics History and Biographies Macrosope

Some Founders of the Cybernetics Disciplines

W. Ross Ashby
psychiatrist; one of the founding fathers of cybernetics; known for the development of the concept of the homeostat and the law of requisite variety
Stafford Beer – A brief review
management cyberneticist; creator of the Viable System Model (VSM).
In Memory of Stafford Beer
The late Professor Stafford Beer bestrode Management as a colossus….
Humberto Maturana
biologist; creator, together with F. Varela, of the theory of autopoiesis.
Gordon Pask
creator of conversation theory: second order cybernetic concepts and applications to education.
Francisco Varela
biologist; creator, together with H. Maturana, of the theory of autopoiesis
Norbert Wiener
mathematician, coined the term cybernetics and wrote the first books about the subject


A History of Cybernetics
A multi-part review of cybernetics’ history by the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC).
An essay on the Origins of Cybernetics
by D J Stewart
“It is in the nature of scientific work that the divisions between specialisms should be self-perpetuating; and that once a field of inquiry has been split into a number of suitably small areas of study and the rights of specialists over these areas established, it becomes extremely difficult to begin again and allocate the subject matter differently. Usually this rigidity of the organisation of scientific inquiry is harmless, but, occasionally, a problem arises which can be solved only by cutting across the established divisions of labour. The development of a general theory of control and communication has been such a case and so has required the co-operation of representatives of many different sciences. …..
A Biography of Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy.
Bertalanffy Biography
Weltanschauung – A short Biography of Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Founder of General Systems Theory.
The Official Stafford Beer Web Site
Managed by Liverpool John Moores University to portray the holistic nature of Stafford Beer and his work. This is the authentic web site fully endorsed by Professor Stafford Beer.
Cybermedia: Wiener
View and Ideas of Norbert Wiener.
Origins of Cybernetics
An essay on the Origins of Cybernetics by DJ Stewart
Early Days Bibliography
A bibliography of the first decade of cybernetics by D J Stewart

Other Cyberneticians

as detail is sourced for these, they will be added approriately in modules above

Claude Bernard,
Valentin Braitenberg,
George S. Chandy,
Joseph J. DiStefano III,
Heinz von Foerster,
Charles Francois,
Jay Forrester,
Ernst von Glasersfeld,
Francis Heylighen,
Erich von Holst,
Stuart Kauffman,
Sergei P. Kurdyumov,
Niklas Luhmann,
Warren McCulloch,
Horst Mittelstaedt,
Talcott Parsons,
Walter Pitts,
Alfred Radcliffe-Brown,
Robert Trappl,
Valentin Turchin,
Frederic Vester,
John N. Warfield,
Kevin Warwick,

Series NavigationCybernetics Landmarks – a Travellers Guide

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