photo montage banner of
Dr Harvey Cohen cartoon, at Mitchell's Falls, Apostles by bike, at Eden, thowing boomerang

Harvey Cohen PhD

Personal Website

photo montage of
family gtoup, at fnidh of Around The Bay, temple, family plus red-head

Hillel stated:             Ethics of our fathers (Pirke Avot)
If I am not for myself, who is for me? and if I am only for myself, what am I? and if not now, when? ...

Now I have written many web pages for others and in furthering my many and various interests -- but before this year I had never even tried to writte my very own personal website. Not just to list my personal likes and dislikes, my pet ideas, but to make a statement as to who and what I am.
But how to start ?
I'll write the end bit first -- a set of quick links to some of these many web pages.

Why do I write Web Pages ?
Leaving aside the issue that I write webpages to further causes that I support, I find that consructing websites is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those do not write code, design set-ups or manipulate images can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human condition.

With acknowledgements to Graham Greene "Ways of Escape", 9:1, Penguin, 1980
My Man in the Smithsonian
  Victor Scheinman    my long-term friend
  The inventor of the assembly line robot. His PUMA
   Robot in the Smithsonian.  What made this man ?
My Man at Stockholm 2013
  Jack Smith -- Peter Higgs first student -- my   friend and one-time collaborator. A Memoir
My Woman in Space 1974+
  Elizabeth Essex-Cohen -- my late wife -- GPS Pioneer   career high when FedSat launched 2002.
   Long career in space science + Husband and 4 kids.
Climbing over bridge barrier Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney Harbour Bridge night Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge by the arch from hinge point to hinge point -- -- without being caught by the Police -- was one of the "must-dos" of my most conservative youth. My daring extended to one memorial daylight trip that is recorded for posterity here. Just click on the pix of me bypassing the access barrier, or here.
A chronological listing of my published journal and conference papers on visual surveillance systems, image engineering and visual information systems, including image processing generally, and parallel processing techniques, together with some papers devoted to the design of image codecs, to aspects of satellite systems and to the education of engineers, from 1989 to 1997 and 2005.Plus the abstracts of my published papers in physics. Papers published prior to 1989 -- apart from Physics papers - are there

Can a Perceptron select which image shows two entwined worms, and which just one ?


There is no doubt that Minsky and Papert's 1969 book Perceptrons was a block to the funding of research in neural networks for more than ten years. The book was widely interpreted as showing that neural networks are basically limited and fatally flawed. The controversy is whether Minsky and Papert shared and/or promoted this belief.
Shortly before I arrived at MIT in 1974, Marvin Minsky's classic paper, "A Framework for Representing Knowledge" became freely available - and was the basis for organising my own MIT AI Lab Memo 338 The Art of Snaring Dragons.
The YoYo puzzles  of YOYO and yoyo
Dragons are captivating problems in qualitative physics, which require at most high school mathematics for their solution , and mostly no maths. YoYo -- to left -- is an example dragon. Note conflicting heuristics.
Upper case = YOYO for a steady pull to the right- which direction does the YoYo go? YoYo rotates clockwise ??
Lower case = yoyo for a steady pull to the right- which direction does the YoYo go? In direction of pull?
The paper I wrote at MIT in 1974, Artificial Intelligence Lab memo 338 (1974) elucidates the Art of Snaring Dragons, and relates dragons in qualitative physics to the conservation puzzles such as the egg cup puzzle, and other qualitative puzzles Piaget used to explore the thinking of children.
Geckos aka Lakatosian Monsters
Marbled Gecko on Wistera
Victoria - Australia
Insists on doing the impossible
Capillary tubes standing vertically in water
Inducia Capillaria
Capillary tubes standing vertically in mercury Geckos are the most intriguing of Dragons. Colourful but bereft of eyelids, lacking claws, yet so provocative. Aristotle wondered at the behavour: how the gecko climbs walls and even across ceilings -- was beyond HIS physics. When a would-be physicist is challenged by a gecko many try to bar this creature -- gecko-barring -- but the more creative task is to tame the gecko -- gecko adjustment -- to include WITHIN the physics analysis - not outside. The genus was properly first described in mathematics by Imre Lakatos, hence the alternate nomenclature Lakatosian Monster.

Inducia Capillaria [to left and right] is a gecko that looks again at the problem of water (or mercury) rising (falling) up (down) a capillary tube. In most elementary physics courses the student is shown a computation of H, the rise/fall of the liquid column above/below the surrounding fluid, as H = K/r where r is the capillary radius, and K involves the surface tension and the angle of contact. One can simply reject the two images here as "unphysical" or simply "impossible" -- but the real challenge is to extend the analysis to work out just what happens for tubes of "insufficient" length.
Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen with 

full-sized model of FedSat

in early 2003
My late wife Elizabeth Essex-Cohen, photographed in 2002 with a 1:1 model of the FedSat satellite, for which she was in charge of GPS-related experiments.
The historic website of the GPS Science Group she lead till 2004 is here An annotated (but incomplete) listing of her publications on ionospheric physics, the use of microsatellites etc is at

FedSat launch path
This website aims to provide an overview of
  • WRESAT - Weapons Research Establishment SATellite launched in 1967
  • FEDSAT - the FEDeration Satellite lauched in 2002 in lieu of 2001.
  • Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen, first Australian satellite beacon experimenter 1969.
  • Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen, role in the design of the NAVSTAR-GPS satellite system in 1974.
    She was as an ionospheric physicist utilising NAVSTAR/GPS from 1978.
    For FedSat she was in charge of GPS-related experiments on FedSat. This had great possibilities for exploring the region of the ionosphere ANOVE FedSat's LEO orbit.

    During 1974, Elizabeth worked at the Air Force Geophysical Research Laboratory, just outside Boston, computing the curved trajectories of radio waves from low earth orbiting satellites, these radio rays being curved due to ionospheric plasma. This work was basic to the determination of orbit parameters for the GPS satellite constellation. At the same time, the writer was in a part of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, in a building in Tech square. On the floor below was the CIA, on the floor below was IBM; Elizabeth and I were in the heart of the US Military, academic and industrial complex in Boston.
  • GPS - basics
  • GPS ionospheric corrections
mid-summer skiing on Mt Baw Baw
Skiing Mt Baw Baw 26 December, 2006, with Alex.
As I got fit for tramping the Sierras by daily bushwalks along the Yarra, I spied an albino kangaroo -Silas - lurking in the trees, shadowing me. Yet I survived California, climbed Half Dome high above Yosemite with my son RayZ, bicycled across the Golden Gate with Vic, to return refreshed to Australia where I spent Boxing Day skiing on Mt Baw Baw (120 east of Melbourne) with Alex and his redhead. It wasn't til afterwards that I learnt that the Redhead had been educated at Hogwarts - which must be the explanation for this magical day- and wondrous year of 2006.
Alex (Federation Peak behind) Harvey Ray
Harvey on top of Moss Ridge 

 with peak of Federation behind 

 but obscured by cloud
Ray Alex Harvey at bush camp at base of Moss Ridge
and touristing
Harvey Alex Ray as pukka tourists on top of Mt Wellington
Cover of Wild magazine featuring Federation Peak,

Lake Jeeves 900m below the free climber is to the right.
New Year 2004
Alex on Berchevaise Plateau
On December 28, 2003, with sons Raymond and Alexander (plus Megan) we set forth on the ultimate Australian bushwalking challenge - to reach the top of Federation Peak, in the most inaccessible portion of South-West Tasmania. We trudged across button grass plains, and climbed up the almost vertical Moss Ridge tree by tree to Berchevaise Plateau using the route pioneered by the Antarctic explorer Berchevaise in 1949. This was more than a bushwalking trip, so Harvey carried the 50m rope and each of us had a climbing harness for the high exposure climb up the final 20m to the top. The ascent of Moss Ridge fully equipped involves much pack hauling using ropes,so from Cutting Camp we set out very early with only day packs hopefully to make a one day return trip to the summit, or at least to return to a tolerable bivouac location well below the summit.
Here is our trip report.
Other pics from this trip are on Smugmug at (Opens in new window).

Years ago, I made an attack on Federation Peak from the other side, coming up Luckman's Lead and circling around to Goon Moor, where we camped for five whole days waiting for a break in the weather. From Goon Moor I took this pix of the flank of Federation down to Lake Jeeves, with "The Sundial" straight ahead.

Click on thumbnails on left to view full-size.
The Kowmung River very close to Colong Caves
The Kowmung River very close to the Colong Caves.
Saving the Colong Caves
Saving the Colong Caves
In 1971 with fellow caver Nicolas White organised the Melbourne campaign to save Mt Armour and the adjoining Colong Caves, which were in the very heart of a proposed Kanangra-Boyd National Park. The story is quite amazing - one aspect to be highlighted is that to generate publicity I staged the first Conservation Absail in Australia. The mining company APCMA, which hoped to quary Mt Armour to produce cement, had relocated its AGM to Melbourne to avoid publicity, but as a result of this campaign the AGM became TV and headline news.

To right is press cutting describing what was the first conservation abseil in Australia.[Click to enlarge]
The La Trobe Talking Communicator with monitor and 5-keyboard
The La Trobe Talking Communicator
The La Trobe Talking Communicator
1981 was the international year of the disabled, and it was also the first year a text to speech chip was manufactured, making possible very compact and cheap computer speech. I conceived of a project entitled "Computer Communication, Access, and Programming by Severely Handicapped (Non-Speech) Children. With funding from the Schools Commission, I put together a small group, and designed fabricated and programmed a battery of 10 microprocessor-based talking communicators, controllable via either single key or 5 key keyboards - meeting a long-felt need by the Yooralla Special School. Its notable that project was completed close to $20,000 under budget. However the School's Commission used these funds plus later grants to fund a teacher controlled project at Yooralla -- blocking further development of what had been a world leading project, cited in the Hawke Government's Report on its First Sixth Months (p42)
OZNAKI System -  microprocessor Wizard's Box, Zonky robot, adapted TV as monitor
Dr Harvey Cohen supervises two-year old

 Alexander Zeno Cohen operating +- keyboard

 1975 microcomputer. Monitor is adapted TV
This was the first educational robotics project for primary and junior High School students to be based on micocomputers - the earliest PCs. This was - pre-Apple ][ and pre-PC
The Oznaki Project 1975-84
In December 1975 I was invited to attend a NSF-funded "Loud Thinking Workshop" at MIT, and enroute I visited the worlds second computer store at Palo Alto. On my return I successfully sought funding OZNAKI - Polish for Symbol -was an educational robotics project that I ran from 1975-84. With research student the first Turtle robot outside the US was constructed. The first micoprocessor was only four years old, so software support was non-existent, requiring signal work in developing software development tools.
Harvey's head in cylindrical projection
Around Harvey's Head
Around Harvey's Head
This rolling panorama takes you on a complete circuit of Harvey's Head.
Elsewhere on this web page there is text linking the viewed phenomena with a AI views of problem solving . (Be warned your head will start spinning soon if you read outside the context to which this page belongs.)
Jewish History Australia
A tour of Australian Jewish History.
A timeline of Australian Jewish History from 1788.
This site documents the Jewish experience in Australia, which began with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1778, and continued with Jewish involvement in all facets of the subsequent development and evolution of Australia. The involvement of Australia with the re-establishment of the state of Israel is detailed, along with vignettes of certain Pacific and Asian Jewish communities.
The Site provides information, sources, photos, links useful for family history and genealogy.
Historic sites, portraits. Stories and folklore. Australian Jewish 'firsts'. Links to other resources.
Included is an account of the underground school in the Kovno Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, and amazing links of that act of defiance of the Nazis to Australia.
Aboriginal flag

Nulla Nullas
Wallaga Lake
At about the time of the NSW "Freedom Bus"- the Australian National University Jewish Students Union - established a children's club at the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve, on the far south coast of NSW. The Club - the Nulla Nullas - run during 1964-66 - had undoubted success, but ended as key ANUJSS members left Canberra in early 1966.
It is noteable that the Nulla Nullas gave charity in (in the form of gifts) to white children (in hospital). Others both within and outside the Koori community have since contributed to the revitalization and empowerment of the Koori village at Wallaga Lake, but traces of ANUJSS's interaction are there still.
Yarra view

My Yarra
The Red Billabong A few pix of a stretch of the Yarra River near my home.
Includes shots of the mysterious Red Billabong,
and the local albino kangaroo, Silas.
Click to view the Google satellite view that covers my stretch of the Yarra from the end of Laughing Waters Road, past the mysterious Red Billabong to opposite the Pound Bend Tunnel.
Those who appreciate images of the tranquil beauty of the Yarra will wish to view images from a bushwalk along the Sorrento-Portsea Artist's Trail from the Sorrento bay beach to the ocean beaches via the famous London Bridge
Hawks logo
Hawks on Top
My family has had a long involvement with the Hawthorn Football Club. Perhaps most strking, on Sunday September 24th 1983, Elizabeth I and the boyZ were at a hotel on the rim of the the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The 3 boyZ - aged 8, 6 and 3 - wearing Hawthorn tops found themselves being congratulated all round on Hawthorn's comprehensive victory against Essendon in the Grand Final win of the previous day. Of course Hawthorn was in the next six Grand Finals.
Harvey consuming grass without inhaling - kutzpah in action
I've never inhaled, nor do I play the sax. But I do admit to gross kutzpah.
In his classic book Chutzpah Alan Dershowitz defines kutzpah, however spelt, as "boldness, assertivenes, a willingness to demand what is due, to challenge authority, to raise eyebrows"
Another Harvard alumnus, my nephew Rodney Marks, who recently served a year as 'professor at large' at the University of NSW, has written the most comprehensive dictionary of management terms called the contradictionary, as a guide to the kutzpah of management.
What more can I write? This is my very personal take on kutzpah for those -- like me -- who never managed the guttural k sound in Chutzpah .
Blogs of my friends
Antipodes Bill Skyvington's Blog which gives an Australian shape to all things French, a French viewpoint to things Australian, combined with sentimental and historical recollections of Grafton. Go try

Harvey Cohen throwing a boomerang How to Throw a Boomerang

Once I could throw a boomerang to return, sometimes even into my hands. I was quite evangelical, and at one ANZAAS Conference I lead a session teaching and practicing this art. But in, in the USA, after meeting one of my many American second cousins. I took my cousin's son Jonathan and a friend of his to the local park in Swampscott, Mass. I demonstrated and offered clues, then the friend threw the boomerang with much vigour directly striking Jonathon hard quite near his eye. Trauma with no lasting effects - but I've never been forgiven. So I no longer teach.
Jack and Elsebeth Smith when I first knew them. Jack and I were both post-docs in the Mathematical Physics Department at the University of Adelaide. Earlier at the University of Edinburgh, Jack, under the supervision of Peter Higgs, had written a Master's thesis, Gauge Invariance in Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), whilst my ANU PhD thesis, developing new and improved computational methods for evaluating Feynman diagrams in QED, which bypassed the need to apply the mathematically dubious scheme called "renormalisation", was entitled Dispersion-Theoretic Approach to Graph theories of Charged Particles of Spin 0, 1/2, 1. We had common interests, with one joint paper dealing with decay modes of the eta (η)meson.
A Tribute to Jack Smith
My Man in Stockholm 2013

Jack Smith, Nobel Laureate (Physics) Peter Higgs, Elsebeth Smith, Stockholm 2013
Jack was invited by Peter Higgs to be a member of his party attending the Nobel Prize award ceremony.
• Jack Smith had been Peter Higgs' very first research student
• Jack was coauthor of important papers, leading to the discovery of the Higgs boson using the CERN Large Hadron Colllider
I especially note this paper:
V Ravindran, J Smith, WL Van Neerven, Next-to-leading order QCD corrections to differential distributions of Higgs boson production in hadron–hadron collisions Nuclear Physics B,Vol 634 (2002) pp 247–290.
Pix of actor Matt Damon co-writer and

star of Good Will Hunting


How a two-year old acquired an Erdös Number of 4.
How the actor Matt Damon acquired an Erdös Number of 2?
But does Joan Baez really have an Erdös Number of 3?
And can a character in a novel gain an Erdös Number in their own right ?
The Erdös Number Extended
Paul Erdös was an amazingly prolific mathematician, who wrote research papers in mathematics jointly with 507 collaborators. These immediate collaborators themselves collaborated in joint papers with others, and so on . . . Almost all professional mathematicians are connected by a chain of co-authors of mathematics research papers with Erdös. In fact in over 80 percent of cases this chain contains less than five links.
A joint author with Erdös has an Erdös Number of 1, those of their coauthors who did not themselves write joint papers with Erdös have Erdös Numbers of 2. And in general a mathematician has an Erdös Number that is just one more than the minimum Erdös Number of his collaborators. My personal Erdös Number is 5, -- there are in fact 5 different chains of published papers that link me to Paul Erdös which yield this value of five.
But mathematicians - - including Paul Erdös himself - - produce joint 'publications' other than research papers in mathematics. So we take the same concept of Erdös Number very seriously, but extend the concept of 'publications'. Our Basic Rule for Assigning Erdös Numbers is: Was enough Chutzpah involved in the claim for it to be taken seriously ??? with chutzpah as defined here.