Publication 2758

Umpleby S. A. (1979) Heinz Von Foerster: A second order cybernetician. Cybernetics Forum 9(3): 3–12. Fulltext at
It is a pleasure to introduce this issue of Cybernetics Forum dedicated to my friend and mentor, Heinz Von Foerster. As the following articles demonstrate, Heinz is a man who inspires not only admiration and respect for his scientific contributions but also great affection. He is an outstanding human being as well as a great scientist. The articles by Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, Humberto Maturana, Lars Löfgren, Edwin Schlossberg and Kenneth Wilson often recount personal experiences with Heinz. Kenneth Wilson provides a very useful overview of Heinz’ major articles as well as the work of visiting cyberneticians in the Biological Computer Laboratory. I shall provide some background on how Heinz came to the University of Illinois, a brief discussion of the effect that the Biological Computer Laboratory had on the students who worked there, and finally some personal reflections on the importance of Heinz’ work for cybernetics, science, and society.


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