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It’s Donald Knuth’s 74th birthday and he’s talking

January 09, 2012

Bernard Cole-January 09, 2012

I was surfing the web for interesting stories and I discovered Web of Stories, a website devoted to recording and posting videos of notables in the arts, sciences, technology and literature.

This week on the site they’re running over 100 videos of Donald Knuth (author of the classic and much read “Art of Computer Programming), on all aspects of his life and work, his motivations and interests. He is celebrating his seventy-fourth birthday this week.

Four years ago, Knuth set aside a couple of days to record, in great depth, the story of his life and work for posterity. As with all Web of Stories contributors, the 7.5 hours of Knuth’s recording are divided into a number of short stories of between two and ten minutes, with a fully searchable transcript. The entire list of about 100 or so videos can be accessed at www.webofstories.com/play/17060.

I am a big fan of his writing and have been enjoying listening and viewing his videos, where he talks about the motivations behind writing his multi-volume work on programming, his novel 'Surreal Numbers', and his invention of TeX and METAFONT electronic publishing tools. (He has a very quirky sense of humor.)

I have, in addition, found numerous other videos I plan to watch, including those on cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, physicist Jeremy Bernstein, earth scientist James Lovelock of Gaia fame, biologist E.O. Wilson, physicist Freeman Dyson and writer Doris Lessing. Enjoy!

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also a partner in TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Call 928-525-9087 or send an email to bccole@techrite-associates.com.

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