Abraham Moles: biography of the father of information science.
Summary of the life and contributions of Abraham Moles, pioneer of information science.
There are many personalities who, throughout their careers, have contributed to create what today is a whole field of knowledge. This is the case of Abraham Moles.
Through this biography of Abraham Moles we will go through the life of this author and thus better understand what was his influence in contributing to the advancement of information science as we know it today. We will also review some of his most relevant works.
Brief biography of Abraham Moles
Abraham Moles was born in the French city of Touzac, in the southwest of the country, in 1920. After completing his primary and secondary education, he enrolled at the University of Grenoble to study to become an electrical and acoustic engineer.
Upon completion of this training, he began working in a laboratory of the metal physics department, he began working in a laboratory of the metal physics department, where he worked as an assistant towhere he worked as an assistant to important professors such as Félix Esclangon and Louis Néel. This work enabled him to acquire great skills in metallurgy, but also in other fields, such as the use of various electronic equipment and the preparation of technical analyses and reports.
The global context, meanwhile, was none other than the Second World War, which ravaged several European countries, including France. Once the war was over, Abraham Moles was able to join the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
This was not the only activity he carried out during this period. At the same time, he combined this work with a continuity in his training, in this case in the field of philosophy. He returned to the University of Grenoble, where he was a student of Jacques Chevalier and Aimé Forest, among others.
But this was not the only institution where Abraham Moles learned philosophy. at the University of Aix he was able to learn directly from Gaston Berger, and he even attended the prestigious Sorbonne, in order to attend Gaston Bachelard's classes.. It was precisely at the Sorbonne where he achieved the highest academic degree, the doctorate, in 1952.
His doctoral thesis was entitled The Physical Structure of the Musical and Phonetic Signal. This work was the beginning of a long career developing the field of information sciences. He was supervised by authors such as René Lucas, Alexandre Monnier, Henri Pieron, and Edmond Bauer.
Beginning of his career and second doctorate
Already as a doctor, Abraham Moles had the opportunity to collaborate in the Center for Radio-Television Studies of the university. The purpose of this institution was to research these media. Within the Center of Studies, Moles worked together with Pierre Schaeffer, an engineer and composer, who had developed a musical style known as concrete music..
However, this work did not allow him a great deal of financial independence. For this reason, he tried to apply for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, which was granted. Through this aid, he was able to move temporarily to the music department of Columbia University, in the United States, and thus learn from the composer Vladimir Ussachevsky.
Although Abraham Moles was already a doctor, he presented a new doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne, in order to achieve this distinction also with respect to the discipline of philosophy, which he had also completed. His thesis was "Scientific Creation", and he did it under the tutelage of Gaston Bachelard, who had already been one of his professors several years earlier at the same university. Thus it was that Moles, in 1954, became a double doctor, and on both occasions through one of the most prestigious universities, not only in France, but in all of Europe, such as the Sorbonne.
Continuing his career
From that year on, Abraham Moles would spend almost five years directing the Scherchen electroacoustic laboratory, located in the Swiss town of Gravesano.. In this center he was able to collaborate with a personality of the world of music, no less than a conductor, Hermann Carl Julius Scherchen, after whom the institution was named.
Scherchen was one of the first directors of Radio Berlin until the beginning of the 1930's. During that period, he was the promoter of great European composers, among them names such as Luigi Nono, Iannis Xenakis, Luciano Berio or Bruno Maderna.
But his work in this musical center was not the only activity developed by Abraham Moles during this period. At the same time he worked as a teacher for different entities. Firstly, at the University of Stuttgart, where he taught philosophy in the same department. he was teaching philosophy in the same department headed by the author Max Bense. He also taught at the University of Utrecht, the University of Berlin and the University of Bonn.
But it was at a different institution that he got a permanent teaching position. It was at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, or faculty of design, located in the city of Ulm. It was the architect and artist, Max Bill, who was in charge of creating this center, once the Second World War was over.
His life as a professor and the School of Strasbourg
Abraham Moles' prestige was growing, and he combined his position at this institution with a teaching post at the University of Strasbourg. There, he had the opportunity to work he had the opportunity to work alongside the sociologist Henri Lefebvre.. In Strasbourg, he began teaching sociology and eventually became professor of social psychology.
In 1966, Abraham Moles set another major milestone in his career. In 1966, he founded the Institute of Social Psychology of Communications. This institution was also popularly known by the short name of the Strasbourg School. This would be his work center for the next two decades.
The Strasbourg School was a training center for professionals in the communication sciences.. Many of Abraham Moles' students ended up also becoming teachers and thus were able to continue transmitting their teacher's knowledge to new generations.
Many of these people formed part of the International Association of Micro Psychology and Social Psychology of Communications, an important entity that served as a link for authors versed in this field.
Another of the positions held by Abraham Moles, who had already become an eminent figure, was that of president of the French Society of Micro Psychology and Social Psychology of Communications, was that of president of the Société Française de Cibernétiquean institution that had been created by the mathematician Louis Couffignal. Abraham Moles also received an honorary invitation to join the famous creative literature club known as the Oulipo in 1970.
During the years to come, Abraham Moles did not cease to publish new works, contributing more and more to the enlargement of the field of information sciences. He died in 1992, in the city of Strasbourg, where he had lived for the last decades of his life.
After having made a summary of the main stages of Abraham Moles' biography, it is time to focus on some of the most important contributions that this author made regarding communication processes, especially in mass media.
To this end, he made clear the enormous relevance that auditory, visual and graphic information had for getting a message to large numbers of people at the same time, which made radio and television the main channels of communication at that time.
For Abraham Moles, communication was a process of dynamic interaction between individuals, in which a series of basic elements were successively transmitted and combined, creating an increasingly complex message.. The influence of the Gestalt school can be seen in this reasoning. But he also picked up theories from other schools of psychology.
Moles affirmed that the communicative process occurred in two different ways, one being the short cycle and the other the long cycle.. The short cycle refers to specific messages that are launched by the media to the population, through experts in this task. In this sense, professionals would select the information to be transmitted and would make it reach the citizens.
The long cycle, on the other hand, would refer to the process that takes place before a given phenomenon has acquired sufficient relevance to have been picked up by observers and therefore chosen to be transmitted through the mass media.
According to Abraham Moles, these were the two fundamental processes to be taken into account in order to study communicative processes in depth. Therefore, this theory represents one of his great contributions to the information sciences.
- Devèze, J. (2004). Abraham Moles, un exceptionnel passeur transdisciplinaire. Hermes, La Revue.
- Mathien, M. (2007). Abraham Moles: affronter scientifiquement la quotidienneté de la communication humaine. Hermès, La Revue.
- Moles, A.A. (1966). La radio-télévision au service de la promotion socio-culturelle. Communications.
- Sánchez Zuluaga, U.H. (2003). From chimeras to the understanding of reality: An approach to communication models. Anagramas: Rumbos y sentidos de la comunicación.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)