Weaver, an American mathematician and one of the founders of communication theory, directed the Rockefeller Foundation's
Natural Science Division from 1932 to 1955, and in this capacity exercised considerable influence over the direction of basic
research in the United States and abroad during the 1930s and 1940s. He is considered the first person to propose using electronic
computers for the translation of natural languages.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (93,833 Bytes)
1964-07-06 (July 6, 1964)
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for the suggestion about teaching machines, which I have passed on.
I am tempted to reply at length to your ideas about biology and physicists, but I think it had better wait till next February.
However, I note that your 1948 article has the questions ". . . Is a virus a living organism? What is a gene, and how
does the original genetic constitution of a living organism express itself in the developed characteristics of the adult?
Do complex protein molecules "know how" to reduplicate their pattern, and is this an essential clue to the problem
of reproduction of living creatures? A11 these are certainly complex problems . . . ".
It happens that most of these questions can now be answered. It might be useful to consider how they were answered, and what
type of person discovered the answers.
On the practical side I am quite prepared to welcome as a non-resident Fellow a "student of natural history" provided
he can communicate with us, and can suggest possible Fellows who can communicate with the present Fellows. I would not be
keen to have a "neo-vitalist"; that is, a man who thinks that the whole is greater than the parts in some manner which
it is impossible to comprehend; (that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is true, in the sense normally
used, of the benzene molecule).
Looking forward to a heated discussion in February,