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Working on a series of books of my collected papers


My children: Jenny
Donald Knuth Scientist
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I'm very proud of my daughter who, right now, is... is not in a profession, she's raising... she's raising her two kids and she's... she's quite active in La Leche League. She... she and her husband lived at Oxford for several years and... and she was... put on a lot of programs there while, you know, while raising her kids and always has many projects going. She was... she also did things like coordinating the... the exhibit of the artwork for my book, 3:16, which... which travelled around the world and that... so she's working on projects of creating museum displays and she's an excellent proof reader and writer and right now, blogger. So it seems that I've... I've got these other part of my life that I... that I wanted to mention too.

[Q] What did she study?

Yeah.  She... she went to Brown University and... and she found out that if she went... took a computer class at Brown people would expect... her name was Knuth and people would expect her to, you know, to really excel in that so she... that scared her out. I think actually she's... she's very good in sciences but instead... Brown University is... is unique in the freedom that it gives to students to choose their own curriculum. They sort of, you know, roll your own style there which is well developed, and... and when she got there she started reading the catalog at the letter A and the first... and in her freshman year she took Art, Anthropology, Asian Literature, African History, everything... everything she saw in the catalog, you know, interested her and she took... but she never got to the letter B. But she wound up as an Anthropology major in... at Brown and did some... and then she was going to do her thesis in... in American, well, sort of the Anthropology of... of America. And... and she... she had some, also some excellent studies of the... of the native houses in Antigua where she had gone on a dig and she studied the... the evolution of... of forms in... in... what do you call it, the models in... in clothing stores... the...? I'm trying to think of the... of the word.

[Q] Mannequins?

Mannequins, yeah right. So... so studying the shapes of mannequins, you know, through the... through the ages and so... indicating some kind of interest that she was going to do. And she made a big study of... of, also of the... of river systems and how people have dealt with flood control and trying to keep rivers alive, and... quite a broad range of interests. She never found the right adviser for her and... and when her husband got a position at MIT then she took classes at Harvard and she could have finished there but then he got a job at Oxford and so she... she never finished her... her formal education but she's... she's done a lot of interesting contributions through writing and I think right now she's got her hands full and doing... and doing well. But... but in... in high school she... she showed strength in science. I always thought that... that, well, that... that she... she was very quick so... we play games a lot and she always beats me and so does John.

Born in 1938, American computing pioneer Donald Knuth is known for his greatly influential multi-volume work, 'The Art of Computer Programming', his novel 'Surreal Numbers', his invention of TeX and METAFONT electronic publishing tools and his quirky sense of humor.

Listeners: Dikran Karagueuzian

Trained as a journalist, Dikran Karagueuzian is the director of CSLI Publications, publisher of seven books by Donald Knuth. He has known Knuth since the late seventies when Knuth was developing TeX and Metafont, the typesetting and type designing computer programs, respectively.

Tags: La Leche League, Oxford, 3:16, Brown University, Antigua, MIT, Harvard, Jenny Knuth

Duration: 4 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008