Heinz von Foerster

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Heinz von Foerster (November 13, 1911 - October 2, 2002) was a scientist combining physics and philosophy. He worked in the field of cybernetics and was essential for the development of the radical constructivism theory. He is also known for his interest in (computer) music and magic.

He was born in Vienna and died in Pescadero, California. He was married to Mei von Foerster.

Von Foerster studied physics at the Technical University of Vienna and at the University of Breslau, influenced by the Vienna Circle and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He moved to the USA in 1949 and worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he formed the Biological Computer Lab, studying similarities in cybernetic systems in biology and electronics. He worked together with John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, amongst many others. He was editor of the five volumes of Cybernetics (1949-1953) and author of more than 100 publications and speaker to conferences all over the world till old age.

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