Heinz von Foerster, the founder and only director of the Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL), was born in Vienna in 1911 and educated in logic, mathematics, and physics at the University of Vienna and University of Breslau (doctorate in physics, 1944). He moved to the United States in 1949, was appointed to the electrical engineering faculty of the University of Illinois, and became editor of the proceedings of the historic Macy conferences, at which the field of cybernetics was born. He founded BCL in 1958 and directed the lab until his retirement in 1975. He died in 2002 at his home in Pescadero, California.
New York Times obituary
J. Hutchinson, "Von Foerster made Illinois a cybernetics 'nerve center'"
S. Umpleby, "Heinz von Foerster"
F. Varela, "Heinz von Foerster: The scientist, the man"
Heinz von Foerster's Wikipedia page