I AM A MATHEMATICIAN by Norbert Wiener


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The enfant terrible of Ex Prodigy becomes in the second and concluding volume of the autobiography a humdrum genius. Academic life, scattered over the leading institutions of England, the Continent, and the Far East, but always rooted in M.I.T., restrains and civilizes Wiener. Marriage and the birth and growing up of his two daughters, a few bouts of psychoanalysis, illness and senility overtaking his iron-intellect father, friendship with the Great Men of science, outdoor athletics, and fame as the founder of cybernetics-- these sundries complete his humanization. All of which is reassuring. But Wiener tells nothing of the mathematician's imaginative processes; his comments on fellow scientists are impersonal. The overall lone is that of the prodigal returning to his communal home trailing his equations behind him. Several passages that laymanize the problems Wiener has worked on are wonders of clarity, but philosophic , especially about the factory making world of tomorrow, seem cavalier. The best one can say is that Wiener is engaging...

Pub Date: March 1st, 1956
Publisher: Doubleday