Principia Cybernetica Web

Cybernetics and Systems Thinkers

The following is a list of the most influential theorists in the field of cybernetics and systems theory and related domains, with links to their biographies, info about their work or their home page (for those that are still alive). Their most important publications can be found in our list of basic books and papers on the domain. The role some of them played in the development of the field is discussed in our history of cybernetics and systems.

This list was provided as a special service to our readers, since we noticed that the names of these people were among the most common strings entered in our search engine. Therefore, the list is directly searchable through the PCP title search. The [find books] link after each name will give you a list of books by or on the author, available through the Amazon web bookshop and [Find Google] will find the most important webpages on the author via the Google search engine.

W. Ross Ashby
psychiatrist; one of the founding fathers of cybernetics; developed homeostat, law of requisite variety, principle of self-organization, and law of regulating models. Further info: ASC biography - Shalizi's notes - his book "Introduction to Cybernetics" - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Henri Atlan
studied self-organization in networks and cells. Further info: home page - biography (French) - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Gregory Bateson
anthropologist; developed double bind theory, and looked at parallels between mind and natural evolution. Further info: biography - ASC biography - the Tangled Web - Ecology of Mind page - < [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Stafford Beer
management cyberneticist; creator of the Viable System Model (VSM). Further info: official website - ASC biography - ISSS primer - ISSS luminaries - Team Syntegrity biography - commemoration - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Kenneth E. Boulding
economist; one of the founding fathers of general system theory. Further info: ASC biography - ideas and works - dedication - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Donald T. Campbell
social scientist, founded evolutionary epistemology and quasi-experimental methodology. Further Info: PCP's In memoriam - Special Issue of "Evolution and Cognition" - Influence on Organization Science - Obituary - Life - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Peter Checkland
creator of soft systems methodology. Further info: home page - Profile - Soft Systems Methodology - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Jay Forrester
engineer; creator of system dynamics, applications to the modelling of industry development, cities and the world. Further info: Home page - ASC biography - short bio - excerpts from books and papers - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

George Klir
mathematical systems theorist; creator of the General Systems Problem Solver methodology for modelling. Further info: home page - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Niklas Luhmann
sociologist; applied theory of autopoiesis to social systems. Further info: Obituary - Obituary2 - philosophy - bibliography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Humberto Maturana
biologist; creator together with F. Varela of the theory of autopoiesis. Further info: ASC biography - photo - contribution to psychology and complexity theory - biology of cognition - Ecology of Mind page - short bio - The Observer Web: autopoiesis theory - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Warren McCulloch
neurophysiologist; first to develop mathematical models of neural networks. Further info: ASC biography - McCulloch and Pitts neurons - von Foerster's tribute - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

James Grier Miller
biologist, creator of Living Systems Theory (LST). Further info: living systems theory - Living System Model - intro to Miller's LST - Miller on "The Earth as a System" - Applications of LST - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Edgar Morin
sociologist, developed a general transdisplinary "method": Further info: biography - summary - interview - bibliography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Howard T. Odum
creator of systems ecology: Further info: biography - home page - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Gordon Pask
creator of conversation theory: second order cybernetic concepts and applications to education. Further info: Pangaro's archive - In Memoriam - ISSS luminaries - ASC biography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Howard Pattee
theoretical biologist; studied hierarchy and semantic closure in organisms. Further info: home page - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

William T. Powers
engineer; creator of perceptual control theory. Further info: home page - introduction to perceptual control theory - definition of control - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Ilya Prigogine
Nobel Prize in chemistry; studied thermodynamical self-organization, irreversibility and dissipative structures. Further info: home page - home page2 - autobiography - Shalizi's notebooks - Curriculum Vitae - various links -[Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Robert Rosen
theoretical biologist; first studied anticipatory systems, proposed category theoretic, non-mechanistic model of living systems. Further info: Requiem - bibliography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Claude Shannon
founder of information theory. Further info: biography - biography 2 - History of mathematics biography - biography4 - a personal biography - biography and achievements - Shannon's information theory - photos - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Herbert A. Simon:
Nobel prize in economics, made fundamental contributions to Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Management, philosophy of science, and complex systems. Further Info: - Home Page - Obituary - another home page - autobiography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Francisco Varela
biologist; creator, together with H. Maturana of the theory of autopoiesis. Further info: biography - The Observer Web: autopoiesis theory - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Ludwig von Bertalanffy
biologist; founder of General System Theory. Further info: biography - 100th Birthday celebration - ISSS luminaries - Father of Systems Theory - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Ernst von Glasersfeld
psychologist; proponent of radical constructivism. Further info: biography & contact info - SRRI biography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Heinz von Foerster
one of the founding fathers of cybernetics; first to study self-organization, self-reference and other circularities; creator of second-order cybernetics. Further info: overview - biographical interview - Varela's personal introduction - ISSS luminaries - [Find Books] - [Find in Google][Find in Google]>

John von Neumann
mathematician; founding father in the domains of ergodic theory, game theory, quantum logic, axioms of quantum mechanics, the digital computer, cellular automata and self-reproducing systems. Further info: biography - bio with bibliography -History of mathematics biography - biography3 - biography4 - [Find Books] - [Find in Google][Find in Google]>

Paul Watzlawick
psychiatrist; studied role of paradoxes in communication. Further info: ASC biography - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]

Norbert Wiener
mathematician; founder of cybernetics. Further info: ideas - biography - Shalizi's notes - Notices of the AMS bio - bio (mathematicians) - MathematicalWork - his Cybernetic Delirium - his activism - in K. Kelly's "Out of Control" - memoir - [Find Books] - [Find in Google]
See also:

Copyright© 2004 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

F. Heylighen,

Dec 3, 2004 (modified)
Dec 12, 1996 (created)


Reference material

Cybernetics and Systems Theory

What are Cybernetics and Systems Science?

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