Mathematics: The Prodigy Who Grew Up

With his short, rotund figure and his spade beard, Professor Norbert Wiener of M.I.T. looked like a harmless Santa Claus. Instead he bristled with versatility. He was a top-rank mathematician who fathered a new branch of science, an enthusiastic mountain climber, and a facile writer of both fiction and philosophy. He could talk intelligently on almost any subject. When he died of a heart attack in Stockholm last week, his colleagues the world over testified to a special sense of loss. For Wiener was one of a vanishing crew—a first-rate scientist whose curiosity and skills covered a variety of...

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