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What is Kelseymh up to? Answered

CELEBRATIONS have just finished at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, for the 50th anniversary of a milestone that had nothing to do with basic physics research. In October 1958, nuclear physicist William Higinbotham created one of the world's first video games, called Tennis for Two.

Officially, his goal was to liven up displays at the lab's annual visitors' day, and in that he succeeded. Hundreds of people lined up to bat a glowing spot back and forth across the video screen of a common or garden laboratory oscilloscope.

Unofficially, Feedback suspects he was really just goofing off on a slow day, or waiting around with nothing to do when the lab's particle accelerator was broken, being maintained or otherwise failing to deliver the goods. Higinbotham himself said the idea came to him while reading the manual for an early computer which could plot the course of a missile or a bouncing ball on an oscilloscope screen. He then designed suitable circuits and control boxes - Stone Age versions of today's joysticks - so that two players could bat an electronic ball to each other across the screen.

The game was adapted for a larger screen, but eventually forgotten until 1982, when Creative Computing magazine heard about it and thought it might be the first video game. With the invention far enough behind for him not to worry about accounting for time wasted on the government payroll, Higinbotham claimed credit for Tennis for Two.

Such primitive video games are old hat now, but hundreds of physicists including our own Kelseymh are still waiting for the completion of repairs to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. What might they be inventing this time, while sitting around twiddling their thumbs?

New Scientist Article.

Tennis For Two Simulator (untried by your correspondent)

32 Replies

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2008-10-31

That won't work - this thread is stuck in filters somewhere. I've had the trouble before, and I've PMed Rachel about it this time.

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2008-10-31

See?

Ye of little faith...

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2008-10-31

I thought you knew - no faith at all!

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killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-11-01

Now kiteman, surely you should have faith in science...

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Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-11-02

No, I trust science - "faith" is belief without evidence. I trust the science, because somebody checks it, usually lots of people, and I could check it myself if I had the time/money.

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Lithium Rain (author)NachoMahma2008-11-02

Hahaha. I didn't know Eric Clapton was in that...

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skunkbait (author)Lithium Rain2008-11-03

Yeah, He was the "Cream" of the crop.

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kelseymh (author)Kiteman2008-11-02

Ooooh, launching a real discussion :-) Real scientists have faith, even if we don't like to admit it. We assume (believe!) that everything is explicable, that some sort of "objective reality" exists, and that physical laws are both temporally and logically consistent. You can't prove any of that, but if you don't believe it, then it isn't possible to engage in the activity of Science.

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skunkbait (author)kelseymh2008-11-03

Yeah, I'd say if you genuinely believe something that is not demonstrable (even History if you weren't there for the occurrence), that is a variety of faith.

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killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-11-02

Smart alec...

Well then I guess that's that... Stupid Freudian slips, need to remember them meaning things better...

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2008-11-01
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KentsOkay (author)2008-10-31

What ho? I knew that kelsey chap is more than he lets on...

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Lithium Rain (author)KentsOkay2008-11-01

He lets on, you just don't pay attention. :D

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Lithium Rain (author)KentsOkay2008-11-01

*Shrugs* He's said before that he is a particle physicist and worked on the LHC.

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KentsOkay (author)Lithium Rain2008-11-02

Did he? I wasn't paying attention...

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Lithium Rain (author)2008-10-30

Really, Kiteman, if you want to stalk kelseymh with me, you have to keep a lower profile! Just subscribe to him!

And remember, I saw him first.

:D

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2008-10-30

Who's stalking who? This thread hasn't arrived on the lists yet - the only way you saw it is if you were lurking on my page...

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2008-10-30

LOL!

I'll let you tell him we're talking about him behind his back...

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2008-10-30

Oh, no, that's quite all right. Age before beauty.

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kelseymh (author)2008-11-01

Heh, thank you all for caring :-) Luckily, I'm still analyzing data from my previous experiment, a task which could keep me occupied for the next year (or until my grad student finishes :-)

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2008-11-02

...grad student...

A job even lowlier than intern... ;-)

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