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MIT (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is founded by William Barton Rogers downriver from Harvard at Cambridge, Mass.
M.I.T. researcher Har Gobind Khorana reports August 28 that his team has successfully constructed a bacterial gene, complete with regulatory mechanisms, and has implanted it in a living cell where it has functioned normally. They have produced a tyrosine transfer RNA gene from Escherichia coli bacterium nucleotides (the four basic chemicals of the genetic code), a breakthrough in genetic engineering.
MIT, to begin with, was the engineers' school of engineers'
schools, where the undergraduates hold an annual "ugliest man on campus" contest--an
unashamed, self-proclaimed, national haven for supernerds. The campus population
was primarily composed of the people from all the high schools in the country
who stayed home and learned integral calculus or built ham radios while everybody
else was at the sock hop. Amid all this self-styled
rejection of conventional youth culture and the atmosphere of cultivated unfashionability, computer obsessives were considered oddballs even by the other outcasts. Their standards were entirely their own. They and their computers, and a few people in ARPA, were the only ones who knew that the top hackers were really the insiders. Although they were outcasts from the wider society, from their fellow techies, and even from most other computer scientists, they happened to be the people who were creating the future of computing--the first
- Chapter 8 from _Tools For Thought_ by Howard Rheinbold
MIT students Slug Russell, Shag Graetz, and Alan Kotok wrote SpaceWar!, considered the first interactive computer game. First played at MIT on DEC's PDP-1, the large-scope display featured interactive, shoot-'em-up graphics that inspired future video games. Dueling players fired at each other's spaceships and used early versions of joysticks to manipulate away from the central gravitational force of a sun as well as from the enemy ship.
Chaos theory emerged as a way to mathematically study the infinitely complex systems of the natural world. "Where chaos begins, classical science stops," says Gleick. The theory grew out of MIT computer science professor Ed Lorenz's discovery in the 1960s of equations with solutions that appear to be random.
Steven Levy's classic book _Hackers_ explains why the misuse of the word "hackers" to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model railroad club--a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and computer innovators--from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. These eccentric characters used the term "hack" to describe a clever way of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, "hack" moved over with them.
A Reality Hacker or Urban Spelunker (origin: MIT); someone who enjoys exploring air ducts, rooftops, shafts and other hidden aspects of urban life, sometimes including pulling elaborate pranks for the enjoyment and entertainment of the community.
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