Sunday, May 15, 2011

From Humberto Maturana

Humberto was one of Jerry's colleagues on WTFETTFB (What the frogs eye tells the frog's brain) and a very dear friend. This photo was taken when he was working with Jerry.

He writes from Chile.

"I met Jerry when I was writting my Ph.D thesis at Harvard  May 1958. He came to the Biological Laboratories to give a seminar on the frog's (Rana pipiens) visual brain. I liked him and showed him my work. He liked it and he invited me to come to do a Post Doctoral work with him at MIT.
I mentioned his invitation to the the people of the Biological Laboratories and they said that I should not accept because he was very intelligent but very erratic. He would begin something but would not finish it. I wondered.  Yet I liked him, I liked his manner of thinking, his passion, his humanness, ... and I accepted his offer and went to work with him after my graduation. It was the best thing that I did for the rest of my life.
We became great friends. He accepted that I could have a small laboratory of my own in the sixth floor of a biology buildng where I worked alone in the mornings, to go to work together in the afternoon in his laboratory in the depatment of Electric Engeneering. At 1pm he would come to my little laboratory and invite me saying: "Come Humberto, who do you think that would be most annoyed with our discoveries of yesterday so that we go to tell them, to them?" So I would accompany him, a small fellow besides a big man discovering the wonderful things that they had done together.
Although there is much more to say this is all for the momment.
Jerry Lettvin was a great person, I admired him, learned from him and loved him. He was old in the right moment to die with dignity."
Humberto can be found at the website for his school "Matriztica."

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