Norbert Wiener


Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) was an American-Jewish mathematician who became famous for being the founding father of management cybernetics.

Norbert Wiener was also an expert in Stochastic processes (probability calculus models) and he made important scientific contributions in the field of electronic engineering, telecommunications and measurement and control techniques.

Biography Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener was a very intelligent man and he proved this by obtaining a BA degree when he was 14 and when he was 17 he obtained his doctorate in mathematical logic. In his younger years, Norbert Wiener already taught philosophy at Harvard University .

In 1916 he joined General Electric as an engineer. When World War I broke out, Norbert Wiener wanted to contribute to the war effort. However, he did not really play a role during World War I. After having been turned down a number of times, Norbert Wiener finally served as a soldier albeit for less than a year.

After World War I had ended, Norbert Wiener applied for a position at both Harvard University and the University of Melbourne. However, he was rejected by both universities. Instead, he became an instructor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Eventually, he was promoted to Professor.

During World War II, he made contributions to mathematically optimized fire control of artillery and to a time series analysis for the determining of the optimal size of maritime convoys with respect to submarine attacks. Furthermore, his most important contributions during World War II can be found in probability calculus named the Wiener process and the Wiener integral.

After World War II, Norbert Wiener opposed the use of science to benefit the weapons industry and he mainly concerned himself with the development of theories concerning cybernetics, robotics, computer control and automation.

Norbert Wiener was a strong advocate of automation to improve the standard of living and to end economic underdevelopment. In 1950, he advised the Indian government in this area. Norbert Wiener remained active as a Professor, advisor and researcher until his death in 1964.

During his life, Norbert Wiener was the recipient of many honours and awards including:

  • The Bôcher Memorial Prize in 1933 and the National Medal of Science in 1963, presented by President Johnson at a White House Ceremony in January 1964, shortly before his death.
  • The US National Book Award (1965) in Science, Philosophy and Religion.
  • The University of Maryland established the Norbert Wiener Centre for Harmonic Analysis and Applications in his honour.
  • The crater Wiener at the far side of the moon is named after him.

Publications and books by Norbert Wiener et al.

  • 1988. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. The Perseus Books Group.
  • 1961. Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Mit Press Ltd.
  • 1959. Nonlinear Problems in Random Theory.
  • 1958. The prediction theory of multivariate stochastic processes II. Journal: Acta Mathematica – ACTA MATH, vol. 99, no. 1, pp. 93-137.
  • 1957. The prediction theory of multivariate stochastic processes. Journal: Acta Mathematica – ACTA MATH, vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 111-150.
  • 1949. Cybernetics. Journal: American Journal of Physics – AMER J PHYS, vol. 17, no. 4.
  • 1945. The Role of Models in Science. Journal: Philosophy of Science, vol. 12, no. 4.
  • 1943. Behavior, Purpose and Teleology. Journal: Philosophy of Science, vol. 10, no. 1.
  • 1933. Notes on random function. Journal: Mathematische Zeitschrift – MATH Z, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 647-668.
  • 1930. Generalized harmonic analysis. Journal: Acta Mathematica – ACTA MATH, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 117-258

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