Among the greats of our time who look for the most essential concepts…

Meet Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker

Articles: The Second Law and the Difference Between Past and Future, pages 53-61, (originally in Annalen der Physik, 36, 1939)
ArXiv: C. F. von Weizsaecker’s Reconstruction of Physics: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, September 2003
Books: The Unity of Nature, Farrar-Strauss-Giroux, 1980; The world view of physics, University of Chicago Press, 1952
Gifford Lectures: The Relevance of Science, 1959-1961
Max Planck Institute (MPI) for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World

Sunday, 30 August 2020 Remembering Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker

In a note to his grandson, Jakob von Weizsäcker,* I said,  “In 1975 on my first visit to Germany, I flew into Munich, then took a train down to Max Planck Institute (MPI) for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World on Starnberger See to see your grandfather. In Spring of 1979 on his visit to MIT, we talked about my special project to lift up his name and work along with 76 other leading scholars who were asking the most basic questions about the foundations of the arts and sciences, especially philosophies including religions, and theologies. It was the beginning, the earliest roots, of this project, the Mathematically-Integrated View of the Universe, and this 81018 website. Of course, it is now readily accessible to people around the world. That was part of the dream in 1979. At that time, it was just a display project under the dome off Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.

I said to Jakob, “Yes, at that time some of us had a vision that was inspired by people like your grandfather.”

It was a pivotal time. New technologies were exploding everywhere. That July 1979, under the MIT dome, a couple of fellows from the MIT Machine-Architecture Group confronted me at the display. They asked, “Why don’t you put all this information in a digital form so people can easily find what they want to learn?” They invited me upstairs to see their work in action — a virtual tour of downtown Aspen, Colorado. It was my introduction to the LaserDisc revolution. Andy Lippman was my guide; I briefly met Nicholas Negroponte, and have followed the progress of the MIT Media Lab. In that same couple of weeks, Jerome Wiesner, at that time the president of MIT, also came by. We had a spirited discussion about the selection of scholars.

Much more to come

* The von Weizsäcker family has a long history of service to the Kingdom of Württemberg, then to Germany, and to intellectual insight and discourse.  Jakob is certainly holding his own for his generation.

A Partial Bibliography of Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker

  • Zum Weltbild der Physik, Leipzig 1946 (ISBN 3-7776-1209-X), 2002, 14th ed. de:Holger Lyre, translation into English by Marjorie Grene The World View of Physics, London, 1952
  • Die Geschichte der Natur, Göttingen 1948 (ISBN 3-7776-1398-3)
  • Die Einheit der Natur, Munich 1971 (ISBN 3-423-33083-X), translation: The Unity of Nature, New York, 1980 (ISBN 0-374-28100-9)
  • Wege in der Gefahr, Munich 1976, translation The Politics of Peril, New York 1978
  • Der Garten des Menschlichen, Munich 1977 (ISBN 3-446-12423-3)
  • Deutlichkeit: Beiträge zu politischen und religiösen Gegenwartsfragen, Hanser, München, 1978, 1979 (ISBN 3-446-12623-6). translation The Ambivalence of progress, essays on historical anthropology, New York 1988 (ISBN 0-913729-92-2)
  • The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius, Gopi Krishna, New York, extended introduction by C.F. von Weizsäcker, 1971, 1972 (ISBN 0-06-064788-4)
  • Aufbau der Physik, Munich 1985 (ISBN 3-446-14142-1), translation The Structure of Physics, Heidelberg 2006 (ISBN 1-4020-5234-0; ISBN 978-1-4020-5234-7)
  • Der Mensch in seiner Geschichte, Munich 1991 (ISBN 3-446-16361-1)
  • Zeit und Wissen, Munich 1992 (ISBN 3-446-16367-0)
  • Der bedrohte Friede, 1994 (ISBN 3-446-13454-9)
  • Große Physiker, Munich 1999 (ISBN 3-446-18772-3)