Helmut Schnelle- Curriculum Vitae#


Obituary, Ruhr Universität Bochum (in German)

  • 1932 Born in Cologne


School, university and research

  • 1936 - 1952 schools in Frankfurt / Main, Essen, Berlin, Chemnitz, Cologne, Abitur in Bochum
  • 1952 - 1957 studying physics in Munich, Heidelberg, Bonn and Paris,
  • 1957 Diploma in Physics
  • 1961 Doctorate in Philosophy in Bonn
  • 1962 - 1967- several study trips to centers of computational linguistics in the U.S.
  • 1966 Invitation to cooperation with the Rand Corporation in Los Angeles
  • Since 1966 Member of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics (Coling)
  • 1968 - 1976 Ord Professor of Linguistics at the Technical University of Berlin several times visiting professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem at the invitation of Prof. Y. Bar-Hillel
  • 1974 Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1976 - 1997 University Professor of Linguistics at the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 1978 - 2010 intensive work on structural and dynamic properties of the empirical evidence, organization of language (syntax, semantics and pragmatics) in the brain and nervous system in the body.
  • 1980 - 1990 Member of the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Insititute for Psycholinguistics and evaluators in the Appropriations Committee of the German Research Foundation and supervisor of the world invited Humboldt Fellows
  • 1989 Appointed member of the Academia Eropaea (London)
  • 1986 - 1993 LILOG expert in the research project of the German section of IBM and also Chairman of the Ad hoc Commission of the Council for the development of the language industry and its organizational and technical basis.
  • 1994 - 2000 Member of the Research Center Cognitive and Neural Networks (Kognet) at the University of Bochum.
  • 1990 stay in Berkeley, California, to cooperate in Connectionist Computational Linguistics
  • 2000 Dr. hc of the University of Bielefeld
  • 1990 - 2000 organizational involvement in a collaboration with Columbia University, New York, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the analysis of Eastern European and Western European forms of Yiddish
  • 1996 - 1997 Member of the Multimedia Co-ordination Committee of the Ruhr-University Bochum


Curriculum Vitae of research

Helmut Schnelle studied physics. After the diploma in the year 1957 he subsequently concentrated on studies in communication research, formal linguistics and cybernetic computation in automata and nervous systems. Though Chomskyan and Montague schemata for formal linguistics seemed to fit perfectly into axiomatic analyses in the logico- mathematical sense further research was rather encouraged by von Neumann’s statement that effectively constructive logics, that is intuitionistic logics, can be best studied in terms of automata where logical propositions can be represented as electrical networks or (idealized) nervous systems. This view was further supported by subsequent proofs that growing automata are indeed formally equivalent to universal Turing machines. Cooperation with C.A. Petri allowed to establish this position and allowed to construct grammar structure systems as automata and (idealized) nervous systems and allowed to concentrate on the problem of bridging formal knowledge schemata of syntax and semantics and functional knowledge of recent neurocognition of the cerebral cortex and the nerve system in the body. The books of 1991 and 2010 summarized the present state of research. These books demonstrate that the foundational framework is most appropriately based on the philosophy of Leibniz, 1695 to 1715, an epoch in Leibniz’ life that followed the earlier period of his interest in formal logic.

Some details:

During the sixties of the last century studies of Helmut Schnelle were concentrated on German semantic analyses and their application to machine translation, lexical analyses, linguistic communication analyses based on Y. Bar-Hillel’s ideas, and partially on contacts with research groups in the USA and Israel. Parallel to these, philosophical studies of Leibniz’ philosophy about mind and body.. After the PhD in Philosophy and Linguistics Helmut Schnelle became professor of Linguistics in the Technical University of Berlin and on several occasions visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at the MIT in Cambridge MA. at a time in which Helmut Schnelle concentrated on the possibility of Montague’s set theoretical universal grammar. But he discovered that the strictly formal approach is inappropriate in various respects, in particular in its analyses of time and tense and contrasted radically with Leibniz’ dynamic, in particular with analyses of human action referring to mind and body. The study of Popper and Eccles’ book of “Self and Its Brain’ and references of new ideas of Jakobson determined a new start for the eighties. Struggle between computational network connectionism and artificial intelligence versus studies of brain architecture based led first to the priority of the former during the eighties parallel to logically based studies of lexicology. Starting with the nineties detailed studies of cognitive neuroscience were finally given priority with results presented in the book of 2010.

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