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The Ratio Club was a small informal dining club of young psychologists, physiologists, mathematicians and engineers who met to discuss issues in cybernetics. The idea of the club arose from a symposium on animal behaviour held by the Society of Experimental Biology in Cambridge, July 1949. The club was founded by the neurologist John Bates and continued to meet until 1958.
The name ratio was suggested by Albert Uttley, it being the Latin root meaning "computation or the faculty of mind which calculates, plans and reasons". He pointed out that it is also the root of rationarium, meaning a statistical account, and ratiocinatius, meaning argumentative. The use was probably inspired by an earlier suggestion by Donald Mackay, Machina ratiocinatrix, which was a reference to Machina speculatrix, W. Grey Walter's name for his tortoise robot.
The initial membership was William Ross Ashby, Horace Barlow, George Dawson, Thomas Gold, W. E. Hick, Donald MacKay, Turner McLardy, P. A. Merton, John Pringle, Harold Shipton, Donald Sholl, Albert Uttley, W. Grey Walter and John Westcott. Alan Turing joined after the first meeting and other members included Jack Good, Philip Woodward and William Rushton.
The Ratio Club is to be the subject of a book, to be published in 2006 or 2007, by the cybernetics researcher Owen Holland.
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