Arturo Rosenblueth

Arturo Rosenblueth

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Arturo Rosenblueth Stearns (October 2, 1900 – September 20, 1970) was a Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 researcher, physician and physiologist
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, who is known as one of the pioneers of cybernetics
Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

.

Biography


Rosenblueth was born in 1900 in Ciudad Guerrero, Chihuahua. He began his studies in Mexico City, then traveled to Berlin and Paris where he obtained his medical degree. Returning to Mexico city in 1927, he engaged in teaching and research in physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

. In 1930 he obtained a Guggenheim Scholarship and moved to Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, to the department of Physiology, then directed by Walter Cannon. With Cannon he explored the chemical mediation of homeostasis
Homeostasis
Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH...

. Rosenblueth cowrote research papers with both Cannon and Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

, pioneer of cybernetics
Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

. Rosenblueth was an influential member of the core group at the Macy Conferences
Macy conferences
The Macy Conferences were a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held in New York by the initiative of Warren McCulloch and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation from 1946 to 1953...

.

In 1944, Rosenblueth became professor of physiology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

. Eventually he became head of the Physiology Laboratory of the National Institute of Cardiology, head of the Physiology Department and, in 1961, director of the Center for Scientific Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav
CINVESTAV
The Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute is a Mexican non-governmental scientific research affiliated to the National Polytechnic Institute and founded by president Adolfo López Mateos on 17 April 1961, initially planned...

) at the National Polytechnic Institute
National Polytechnic Institute
The National Polytechnic Institute colloquially known as the Polytechnic is one of the largest public universities in Mexico with 153.027 students at the high school, undergraduate and postgraduate levels...

.

Between 1947 and 1949, and again between 1951 and 1952, using grants from the Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a prominent philanthropic organization and private foundation based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by John D. Rockefeller , along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr...

, he returned to Harvard to further collaborate with Wiener.

Arturo Rosenblueth died September 20, 1970 in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

.

Work


Since the 1930s Rosenblueth worked with Cannon on issues related with Chemical transmission among nervous elements. Between 1931 and 1945 he worked with several specialists, among them Cannon, del Pozo, H.G. Schwartz, and Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

. With Wiener and Julian Bigelow he wrote "Behavior, Purpose and Teleology", which, according to Wiener himself, set the bases for the new science of Cybernetics
Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

.

He devoted himself to the fields of nervous impulse transmissions, neuromuscular transmission, synaptic transmission, the propagation of impulses in the heart, the control of blood circulation, and the physiology of brain cortex. However he also taught several courses of mathematics and even musicology.

Quotes

  • "[T]he best material model for a cat is another [cat], or preferably the same cat."

- "The Role of Models in Science," with Norbert Wiener

Publications

  • 1937, Arturo Rosenblueth,Fisiología del sistema nervioso autónomo ("Physiology of the Autonomous Nervous System", with Walter Cannon
  • 1943, Behavior, Purpose and Teleology, with Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

    , Julian Bigelow
    Julian Bigelow
    -Life:Bigelow was born in 1913 and obtained a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering and mathematics...

  • 1945, The Role of Models in Science with Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

  • 1970, Mind and Brain: A Philosophy of Science, (MIT Press
    MIT Press
    The MIT Press is a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts .-History:...

    )
  • 1970, "Mente y Cerebro: una filosofia de la ciencia" hilosophy of science

Further reading

  • A.M. Monnier (1975) "Arturo Rosenblueth", Dictionary of Scientific Biography
    Dictionary of Scientific Biography
    The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is a scholarly reference work that was published from 1970 through 1980. It is supplemented by the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography and an electronic version that includes both publications....

    .