terça-feira, julho 15, 2008

In search of a beautiful mind

Com todo o meu carinho e a minha admiração...
Quem me conhece, conhece o fascínio por este Homem cujo livro
Mindstorms foi o primeiro grande passo para a minha entrada no mundo das tecnologias - iniciada com um curso de Linguagem LOGO na ESE de Setúbal (mal acabara de ser colocada numa escola pela primeira vez, com 22 anos).
Posso dizer-vos que a nossa casa não tinha mobília... mas pouco tempo depois comprámos um ZX Spectrum... que funcionava com uma televisão minúscula emprestada e um gravador velho... onde eu "estudava as lições" e praticava...

Tenho acompanhado a situação e foi com alegria que cheguei a esta reportagem (divulgada pelo Media Lab no Twitter).

Seymour Papert constructed a mobile as part of his neurotherapy at his house in Blue Hill, Maine. The former MIT mathematics professor suffered massive brain trauma when he was struck by a motorbike.

The Boston Globe

By Linda Matchan
Globe Staff / July 12, 2008

He was long a jewel of the MIT faculty. Now, after a devastating brain injury, mathematician Seymour Papert is struggling bravely to learn again how to think like, speak like, be like the man of genius he was.

(...)Papert, who was a professor of mathematics, education, and media technology at MIT, has devoted much of his career to learning: self-learning (he taught himself Russian) and learning about learning. He was one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence, and he invented the computer language Logo to teach children about computers.
Now he must learn something even more challenging - how to be Seymour Papert again.
Nineteen months ago he was struck by a motorbike in Hanoi and suffered a brain injury so severe he was comatose for a month and couldn't walk, talk, or read. The man widely considered to be the most important living thinker about the way children learn is struggling with an unreliable memory and an uncertain grip on words. And his wife and his caregivers are using insights from his theories about learning to help bring him back to a normal life.
"His accident was worse than horrible for somebody whose life was the mind," said Nicholas Negroponte, a cofounder and former director of MIT Media Laboratory.
It's been a year since Papert came home to Blue Hill on the Maine coast, where he lives with his wife, Suzanne Massie, a writer and Russian scholar. He'd spent months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Doctors say it could take years to know the full extent of the brain damage.
He spends every weekday in The Learning Barn. Here, with friends and aides, he plays dominoes to practice working with numbers. He adjusts gears on a Lego truck, an echo of a lifelong passion for gears so exuberant he wrote an essay about them - "The Gears of My Childhood" - in his seminal 1980 book, "Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas." He works, tentatively, on math problems and is starting to play chess.
"He is unbelievably brave and courageous," Massie said. "I've come to the conclusion that the good Lord still wants him to do some work." (...)

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