Джон Кемени был одним из "марсиан" (еврейских иммигрантов из Венгрии, которые внесли неоценимый вклад в развитие науки и техники XX века). Он вошел в историю, как один из создателей языка программирования BASIC. Оказавшись в молодом возрасте на посту президента Дартмутского колледжа, Кемени превратил его в один из центров обучения молодой тогда компьютерной науке. При нем Дартмут перестал быть чисто мужским заведением и претерпел другие изменения в ногу со временем.
John George Kemeny was born in Hungary on May 31, 1926, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1940.
Widely praised by his colleagues for both the depth and the breadth of his intellect, Dr. Kemeny was selected a year after his graduation from Princeton University to be a research assistant to Albert Einstein, and he passed the first milestones of his academic career while still remarkably young. He earned a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton at 23, was made a full professor of mathematics at Dartmouth at 27, was appointed chairman of the mathematics department there at 29 and was named president of Dartmouth at 43.
He served as president for 11 years, until 1981, when he resigned to return to teaching. But his most lasting contribution may have been as co-inventor of the Basic computer language, one of the most widely used in the world. Basic (for Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) provided the intellectual building blocks for many later forms of software and is still a major tool in teaching computer programming.
В 1980 Кемени произнес речь, которая продолжает резонировать в наше время.
In his commencement address last June, Dr. Kemeny warned the new graduates against "a voice heard in many guises throughout history, which is the most dangerous voice you will ever hear."
"It appeals to the basest instincts in all of us; it appeals to human prejudice," he said. "It tries to divide us by setting whites against blacks, by setting Chistians against Jews, by setting men against women. And if it succeeds in dividing us from our fellow human beings, it will impose its evil will upon a fragmented society."
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