Do We Thank a World War II Nuclear Weapons Specialist for Video Games?

Interesting

UNREMEMBERED

By Ken Zurski

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In the fall of 1958, physicist William Higinbotham was part of a research team at New York’s Brookhaven Laboratory when he came up with an idea that had nothing to do with nuclear science.

A nuclear weapons specialist during the war, Higinbotham or “Willy” as his friends called him, was instrumental in helping develop the first nuclear bomb. Now a decade later, “Willy” and others were studying the application of nuclear energy in more practical and peaceful means.  Higinbotham had lost his two brothers in the war.

To show off their work, every year, the Institute held an open house – or Visitor’s Days.  And every year the scientists tried to find ways to make the visit more exciting for their less than scientific-minded guests.

So Higinbotham looked around for inspiration. The laboratory had several analog computers and “a book which tells you how to do a…

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