Tuesday, August 05, 2008

08/05/08 - Randy Pausch

Who was Randy Pausch? You may not know his name, but there's a good chance that you've heard about him in the last year. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer took his life on 7/25/08. A friend sent me an Email on that date (thanks, Fred). The following is a brief summary, the links within this post contain more precise information.

Randy was a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and given 3-6 months to live after previous treatment failed to stop it. He is famous for his "Last Lecture" speech, which Wikipedia (a site I recommend) describes as:

'an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk"'

Randy was, of course, very intelligent. He was also very charismatic, meaning that he was a very good speaker, could get his point across, and be entertaining at the same time. His "Last Lecture" became a hit on You Tube, is a great inspirational story, and has some significant life lessons. It also became a best selling book.

I would like to think that Randy and I have some similarities. For one, we both have/had cancer. We have similar backgrounds - Engineering and Computer Science. We both grew up in Pittsburgh. He taught at CMUand I applied there for Engineering (got accepted for math, but could only afford it through Air Force ROTC - so off to Penn State I went). OK, that last similarity is a stretch...

Back to reality. His "Last Lecture" is well worth watching. It is over an hour long at 1:16:27, but most people would easily dedicate that time to watching TV or a movie. I thought about putting a link to a shorter version, but I implore people to watch the full version. You WON'T be disappointed. You WILL be entertained and learn some lessons at the same time.

Although I knew who he was, I wish I would have paid closer attention to his story when he was still around, maybe we could have met...


Post a Comment

<< Home