Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Being Norbert Weiner

I was rereading the 1948 introduction to Norbert Weiner's Cybernetics. In it he talks about the opportunities on the boundaries of science.

"For many years Dr. Rosenblueth and I had shared the conviction that the most fruitful areas for the growth of the sciences were those which had been neglected as a no-man's land between various established fields. Since Liebniz there has perhaps been no man who has had a full command of all the intellectual activity of the day... There are fields of scientific work, as we shall see in the body of this book, which have been explored from the different sides of pure mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering, and neurophysiology in which every single notion receives a separate name from each group, and which important work has been triplicated or quadruplicated, while stlil other important work is delayed by the unavailability in one field of results that may have already become classical in the next field... It is these boundary regions of science which offer the richest opportunities to the qualified investigator."
It's interesting to read how much this was the case over 50 years ago. It seems truer now, and some of my greatest satisfactions have come from tricks I've learned in one domain and applied in another such as the application of various statistical methods in image processing.

In this area, the Internet are helping. In addition to the accessibility of CiteSeer and Arxiv, there are a number of scientific and academic blogs I've come to truly enjoy. The beauty of these blogs is that they're usually informal and accessible.

Sigh. My original intent was to say some things about Norbert Weiner and how I think he deserves more credit than he normally gets, but I think I'll leave that for another time and keep this short.


Anonymous Rene Barris said...

Thanks so very much for taking your time to create your blog. Excellent work

1:09 PM  

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