Also Seen: Dismayed Princeton Classicist

Saw this a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times (inter alia):

The story of his influence on the Princeton project is told by the American technology historian, George Dyson, in his book “Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe.” A compelling book, if puzzlingly discursive at times, it describes how a team of young mathematicians and engineers led by John von Neumann at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study applied Turing’s ideas to develop, not the first electronic computer, but the fastest machine of its era and among the first with the type of random access memory, or RAM, for short, that we still use today.

Mr. Dyson is particularly well equipped to tell this tale, having grown up at Princeton after his father, the physicist, Freeman Dyson, joined the institute in 1953, the same year that von Neumann’s “stored-program computer” was completed. He paints a vivid portrait of campus life: from the snooty classicist who complained of his “dismay” at learning that “a group of electronic experts” had arrived at the institute; to the custom of serving tea in china cups at 3 p.m. each day.

… wonder who the Classicist was …

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