[OLPC Brasil] Re: Rezemos pela vida de Seymour Papert

José Antonio joseantoniorocha at gmail.com
Fri Dec 8 04:55:53 EST 2006

Top MIT scientist injured in Vietnam


By Megan Tench, Globe Staff  |  December 8, 2006

Seymour Papert , a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and worldrenowned pioneer of artificial intelligence, was
in a coma in a Hanoi hospital yesterday after a traffic accident in
Vietnam, where he was attending a conference.

Papert, 78, an expert on how children learn, was struck by a motorbike
Tuesday while crossing one of the many traffic-clogged streets near
his hotel in Hanoi. He underwent brain surgery at the French Hospital
on Wednesday to remove a blood clot that had formed . As of last
night, he was in stable but critical condition, said Alexandra Kahn,
spokeswoman for the Media Laboratory at MIT.

Colleagues reached at the hospital in Hanoi last night said doctors
had put Papert in a medically induced coma, but that they planned to
try to wake him today.

"There's still a very high probability of death," said Uri Wilensky, a
professor of computer science at Northwestern University who was
crossing the street with Papert when he was hit. "But we're more
hopeful each day, because each day he's getting better."

Wilensky said Papert's daughter had recently arrived and his wife was
on the way.

Nicholas Negroponte, one of Papert's closest friends and colleagues
from MIT, arrived in Hanoi Wednesday and was helping oversee Papert's

"I'm very pleased with the hands he's in," Negroponte said by
cellphone from the hospital. "I cannot tell you how modern and clean
the hospital is."

Negroponte said there are no immediate plans to move Papert to another
facility or out of the country.

The accident occurred about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, as Papert and Wilensky
were leaving their hotel for a keynote address Wilensky was about to
deliver at the conference hosted by the Hanoi University of

The two had just been talking about building a mathematical model to
describe Hanoi's notoriously chaotic streets, where there are few
traffic lights or stop signs and a stream of speeding motorbikers.

"We were really amazed and frightened by the traffic," Wilensky said.

As they crossed what Wilensky described as a "very tricky
intersection" -- one without traffic lights -- they tried their best
to avoid all the motorbikes, which were weaving around them. But then
one motorbiker sped toward Papert and hit him in the chest, Wilensky

"He spun around and fell to the ground, hitting his head," Wilensky
said. "He was immediately unconscious and in a coma."

Papert, who helped develop the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT and
was a founding faculty member at the MIT Media Lab in the 1980s, spoke
Monday at a conference on teaching mathematics with digital
technology. He was among more than 100 international experts from 30
countries who had gathered for the event.

When Papert, who was born and educated in South Africa, started
discussing his ideas about children using computers to learn and
enhance their creativity some 40 years ago, some laughed, said Walter
Bender, president of software and content for the One Laptop Per Child
project at MIT, a program, inspired by Papert, to provide low-cost
computers to children in the developing world.

Papert's dream of affordable personal computers, at that time, seemed
like science fiction. "The idea that you would dedicate time to
children on the mainframe was quite outlandish," Bender said.

But Papert, who is deemed among the first to start thinking about
childhood development using technology, would not let it go. He
believed in what he called "constructionism," Bender said, the theory
that one learns through doing.

In Papert's laboratory, children learned how to use computers to write
and create graphics. He also created the programming behind the first
children's toys with built-in computers, and he launched a new
computer language called Logo. Logo-based software was used to promote
teaching and learning.

"Seymour had a very different idea about what the computer is for,"
Bender said. "It wasn't about instruction, it was about expression."

Today Papert is considered the world's foremost expert on how
technology can provide new ways to learn. His research is behind many
children's learning tools, such as Lego's digital product brand called
(c) Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

nome: "José Antonio Meira da Rocha"  tratamento: "Prof. MS."
atividade: "Consultoria e treinamento em mídia impressa e online"
googletalk: email: joseantoniorocha at gmail.com
site: http://meiradarocha.jor.br ICQ: 658222 Skype: "meiradarocha_jor"

More information about the Brasil mailing list