Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pong - invented by Nuclear Physicists

This is fantastic:
In 1958, William "Willy" Higinbotham designed what he considered to be a simple electronic game using an analog computer, two clunky metallic controllers and an oscilloscope screen. Named Tennis for Two, his game would become part of the groundwork for a multibillion-dollar industry.

At the time, Higinbotham was a nuclear physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton. Looking for a way to draw people to the lab's annual visitors' day, he came up with the concept of the game.

On Friday, the laboratory will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tennis for Two with a re-creation of the game and a tour of the instrumentation division where it was created. Bob Dvorak Jr. remembers being the first child to play the game.

I knew this story, but never thought of it before as an equivalent to the WWW being invented at CERN. If this is what physicists do for fun (i.e. spawn multi-billion dollar industries), maybe the world (and specifically the US) should Fund. More. Physics.

Anyway there's also this nice article at BNL.

And of course, a video:

No comments: