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Marvin Minsky: 'One of nature's originals'


Marvin Minsky's hand in the box
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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He invented a device. He went to work for Claude Shannon at Bell Labs, I think, one summer, who was another very smart guy. And as a present to Shannon, they made a device, which is a small box. And it opened and a hand came up, grabbed the top of the box and pulled the lid down again. And I always wondered, it would be a wonderful, wonderful gift. And Marvin said they made a couple, which they gave him. But it would be a wonderful sort of gift to give to somebody. I'd love to have it myself.

Born in 1929, Jeremy Bernstein is an American physicist, educator and writer known for the clarity of his writing for the lay reader on the major issues of modern physics. After graduating from Harvard University, Bernstein worked at Harvard and at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. In 1962 he became an Associate Professor of Physics at New York University, and later a Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, a position he continues to hold. He was also on the staff of The New Yorker magazine.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Bell Labs, Marvin Minsky, Claude Shannon

Duration: 44 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 07 October 2011