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BASIC and the platform it ran on, the Dartmouth Time Sharing System, both sped up the process and demystified it.You told the computer to do something by typing words and math statements, and it did it, right away.But I don’t mind saying this: The world was a better place when almost everybody who used PCs at least dabbled in BASIC.Sooner or later, it was inevitable that someone would come up with a programming language aimed at beginners.Knowing how to program a computer is good for you, and it’s a shame more people don’t learn to do it.For years now, that’s been a hugely popular stance.Kemeny believed that these electronic brains would play an increasingly important role in everyday life, and that everyone at Dartmouth should be introduced to them.
And yet it also leaves me wistful, even melancholy.
Kemeny worked as Albert Einstein’s mathematical assistant before arriving at Dartmouth as a professor in 1953, where he was named chairman of the mathematics department two years later at the age of 29.
He became known for his inventive approach to the teaching of math: When the Alfred P.
Born in Budapest in 1926 and Jewish, Kemeny came to the United States in 1940 along with the rest of his family to flee the Nazis.
He attended Princeton, where he took a year off to contribute to the Manhattan Project and was inspired by a lecture about computers by the pioneering mathematician and physicist John von Neumann.