Conference Reports: Norbert Wiener Memorial Gold Medal for Professor Heinz von F …

IFSR Newsletter 1996 Vol. 15 No. 3 October
The World Organization of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC) presented the Norbert Wiener Memorial Gold Medal to Professor Heinz von Foerster at the 1995 meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics on 19 May 1995. The meeting at the University of Illinois was devoted to “Cybernetics and Circularity” and centered on the work of Heinz von Foerster.
Prof. Stafford Beer (president of WOSC) told the story of Heinz von Foerster’s medal. Robert Vallée, director-general of WOSC, held the following laudation:
The scientific activity of Heinz von Foerster started with his contacts with the Vienna circle and developed later as secretary of the Macy’s Conferences on cybernetics. It continued with the foundation and direction of the Biological Computer Laboratory of the University Illinois at Urbana and resulted in outstanding contributions to self-organization and noise, neurocybernetics, time and memory and cognition. In this last domain Heinz von Foerster introduced “second order cybernetics” where emphasis is put on the role of the observer and recursive processes, giving rise to a constructivism which is still a source of inspiration and makes him one of the great founders and contributors in the fields of both cybernetics and systems.

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