„The development (rather than the history) of operations research as a science consists of the development of its methods, concepts, and techniques. Operations research is neither a method nor a technique; it is or is becoming a science and as such is defined by a combination of the phenomena it studies.“

—  Russell L. Ackoff, p. 265, the lead paragraph ; Cited in: Joe Kelly (1969) Organizational behaviour. p. 26.
Russell L. Ackoff photo
Russell L. Ackoff68
Scientist 1919 - 2009

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Russell L. Ackoff photo

„In June of 1964 the research group and academic program moved to Penn bringing with it most of the faculty, students, and research projects. Our activities flourished in the very supportive environment that Penn and Wharton provided. The wide variety of faculty members that we were able to involve in our activities significantly enhanced our capabilities. By the mid-1960s I had become uncomfortable with the direction, or rather, the lack of direction, of professional Operations Research. I had four major complaints.
First, it had become addicted to its mathematical tools and had lost sight of the problems of management. As a result it was looking for problems to which to apply its tools rather than looking for tools that were suitable for solving the changing problems of management. Second, it failed to take into account the fact that problems are abstractions extracted from reality by analysis. Reality consists of systems of problems, problems that are strongly interactive, messes. I believed that we had to develop ways of dealing with these systems of problems as wholes. Third, Operations Research had become a discipline and had lost its commitment to interdisciplinarity. Most of it was being carried out by professionals who had been trained in the subject, its mathematical techniques. There was little interaction with the other sciences professions and humanities. Finally, Operations Research was ignoring the developments in systems thinking — the methodology, concepts, and theories being developed by systems thinkers.“

—  Russell L. Ackoff Scientist 1919 - 2009
Preface, cited in Gharajedaghi, Jamshid. Systems thinking: Managing chaos and complexity: A platform for designing business architecture http://booksite.elsevier.com/samplechapters/9780123859150/Front_Matter.pdf. Elsevier, 2011. p. xiii


„The conclusions of most good operations research studies are obvious.“

—  Robert E. Machol American systems engineer 1917 - 1998
Cited in: Paul Dickson (1999) The official rules and explanations. p. 14 Machol named this the "Billings Phenomenon". Dickson explains: "The name refers to a well-known Billings story in which a farmer becomes concerned that his black horses are eating more than his white horses. He does a detailed study of the situation and finds that he has more black horses than white horses, Machol points out."

Hans Freudenthal photo

„Educational technique needs a philosophy, which is a matter of faith rather than of science.“

—  Hans Freudenthal Dutch mathematician 1905 - 1990
Hans Freudenthal (1977) Weeding and Sowing: Preface to a Science of Mathematical Education. p. 33

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„Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience.“

—  Niels Bohr Danish physicist 1885 - 1962
Context: Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefore objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language. "The Unity of Human Knowledge" (October 1960)

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