Summary of The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic

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The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic summary
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In this bittersweet tale of a boy genius who ran away and became a great scientist, physics writer Amanda Gefter warmly describes Walter Pitts and his pioneering work in the field of cybernetics. The characters are brilliant but relatable – the vulnerable Pitts, the freewheeling Warren McCulloch, and the fatherly Norbert Wiener. Gefter also succeeds in making sense of complex logical problems and the mathematical solutions Pitts undertook. The heartbreaking conclusion is a reminder that falling short of your goal doesn’t necessarily equal failure. getAbstract recommends this powerful vignette to lovers of science and philosophy.

About the Author

Amanda Gefter is a physics writer. She wrote Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing and the Beginning of Everything.

 

Summary

Born in a rough area of Detroit, Walter Pitts (1923-1969) taught himself languages, mathematics and logic at the town library. At age 12, he read the Principia Mathematica, a three-volume work that uses pure logic to explain mathematics, then wrote to tell its co-author Bertrand Russell about the errors he had found. Russell invited him to study at Cambridge University, but Pitts was too young. In 1938, he dropped out of high school and ran away. When Pitts was 18, he took an unskilled job at the University of Chicago, secretly attended Russell’s lectures and befriended...


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