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Seymour Papert

A draft article based on Wikipedia article: [1]

Seymour Papert (born February 29, 1928 in South Africa) is an Institute of Technology|MIT , science|computer scientist, and education|educator. He is one of the pioneers of intelligence, as well as an inventor of the |Logo programming language.

Early years and education

Papert attended the of the Witwatersrand, receiving a B.A. in 1949 and a PhD in in 1952. He then went on to receive another PhD, also in mathematics, at University in 1959.Papert, Seymour A. in American Men and Women of Science, R.R. Bowker. (1998-99, 20th ed). p. 1056. He was a leading figure in the revolutionary socialist circle around Review while living in London in the 1950s.Jim Higgins: “More Years for the Locust: The Origins of the SWP” Published by IS Group, London, 1997. Chapter 5 page 1 “Another South African, Seymour Papert – a man of considerable talent … was recruited by Kidron and, for a few years, he added considerably to the impact of Socialist Review. His review of John Strachey’s, at that time very influential book, Contemporary Capitalism, for example, is an excellent attack on Strachey and, incidentally, one of the better statements on the permanent arms economy.” “‘More Years for the Locus’ reproduced in the Marxist Internet Archive”


Papert worked as a researcher in a variety of places, including John’s College, Cambridge, the Poincare Institute at the of Paris, the of Geneva and the Physical Laboratory, UK|National Physical Laboratory in London before becoming a research associate at in 1963. He held this position until 1967, when he became professor of applied math and director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory|MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, until 1981; he also served as Cecil & Ida Green professor of at MIT from 1974-1981.

Research and theories

Papert worked on learning theories, and is known for focusing on the impact of new technologies on learning in general and in schools as learning organizations in particular.


At MIT, Papert went on to create the epistemology|Epistemology and Learning Research Group at the School of Architecture and Planning|MIT Architecture Machine Group which later became the Media Lab.Epistemology and Learning homepage Here, he was the developer of an original and highly influential theory on learning called learning|constructionism, built upon the work of Piaget in |Constructivism learning theories. Papert worked with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva from 1958 to 1963Papert page at MIT Media Lab and is widely considered the most brilliant and successful of Piaget’s proteges; Piaget once said that “no one understands my ideas as well as Papert.” Papert has rethought how schools should work based on these theories of learning.


Papert used Piaget|Piaget‘s work in his development of the |Logo programming language whilst at MIT. He created Logo as a to improve the way that ren think and solve the problems. A small called the “|Logo Turtle” was developed and children used it to solve problems. A main purpose of the Logo Foundation research group is to strengthen the ability to learning|learn . Papert insists a simple language|language or program|program that children can learn—like Logo—can also have advanced functionality for expert users.

Other work

As part of his work with technology, Papert has been a proponent of the Machine. He is also currently one of the principals for the Laptop Per Child initiative to manufacture and distribute Children’s Machine in developing nations.

Papert has also collaborated with on their Logo-programmable Mindstorms robotics kits.

Influence and awards

Papert’s work has been highly influential to other researchers in the fields of education and computer science. He influenced the work of Wilensky in the design of and collaborated with him on the study of knowledge restructurations, as well as the work of diSessa and the development of dynaturtles. In 1981, Papert along with several others in the Logo group at MIT, started Computer Systems Inc., of which he was Board Chair for over 20 years. Working with LCSI, Papert designed a number of award-winning programs, including LogoWritersee this history and Lego/Logo (marketed as Mindstorms). He also influenced the research of Harel Caperton, coauthoring articles and the book Constructionism and chairing the advisory board of the company . He also influenced Kay and the concept, and worked with Kay on various projects.

Papert won a fellowship in 1980, a Society|Marconi International fellowship in 1981,Marconi Foundation – the Marconi Fellows. Accessed March 28, 2009. the Software Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the Smithsonian Award from Computerworld in 1997.Henderson, Harry. 2003. A to Z of Computer Scientists. New York: Facts on File. p. 208. Papert has been called by Minsky “the greatest living mathematics educator.“From the cover of Mindstorms. (date needed).

Personal life

Papert’s third wife was Turkle, and together they wrote the influential paper “Epistemological Pluralism and the Revaluation of the Concrete.” {{cite journal | title = Epistemological Pluralism and Revaluation of the Concrete | last = Turkle | first = Sherry | coauthors = Papert, Seymour | year = 1992 | journal = Journal of Mathematical Behavior | volume = 11 | issue = 1 }}

Papert is married to Massie|Suzanne Massie Papert, who is a Russian scholar and author of Pavlovsk, Life of a Russian Palace and Land of the Firebird.Suzanne Massie’s website. Accessed April 19, 2009.

Accident in Hanoi

While attending the 17th ICMI Study conference in , Papert was struck by a while crossing a road near his hotel on Tuesday December 5, 2006. He underwent surgery at the Français De Hanoï|French Hospital of Hanoi on Wednesday December 6 to remove the clot that had formed. By the evening of Tuesday December 12, he was in stable but critical condition.{{cite news|author=Megan Tench |title=Top MIT scientist injured in Vietnam |date=2006-12-08|url= |work=Boston Globe}}

On December 16, 2006 he was transferred by air ambulance to , , and on January 23, 2007 he was transferred to a hospital in his home state of . In March 2007, he suffered an attack of , which required treatment in the hospital until May. Another problem occurred in April, when he had to have a heart valve replaced due to the septicemia. {{As of|2008}}, he has fully recovered from the septicemia and heart operation, and can think clearly, walk “almost unaided”, and communicate. However, he still has “some complicated speech problems”, and is still undergoing extensive rehabilitation, although he is at (copy) (aka. the Seymour Papert Institute) (verified through the IRS as being a 501©3, as they claim)

His rehabilitation team is using some of the very principles of experiential, hands-on learning which he pioneered to aid him in recovery. {{cite news |author=Linda Matchan |title=In search of a beautiful mind |url= |work=Boston Globe |date=2008-07-12 |accessdate=2008-07-16 }}

Selected bibliography

Books * Counter-free automata, 1971, ISBN 0-262-13076-9 * Perceptrons, (with Marvin Minsky), MIT Press, 1969 (Enlarged edition, 1988), ISBN 0-262-63111-3 * Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas], 1980, ISBN 0-465-04674-6 * Papert, S. & Harel, I. (eds). (1991) Constructionism: research reports and essays 1985 – 1990 by the Epistemology and Learning Research Group, the Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ablex Pub. Corp, Norwood, NJ. * The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer, 1992, ISBN 0-465-01063-6 * The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap, 1996, ISBN 1-56352-335-3

See also

* principle * **



External links

Biographical *Seymour Papert short biography at MIT *Professor Seymour Papert: home page; includes a list of works by Papert *Planet Papert articles by and about Papert *{{dmoz|Computers/History/Pioneers/Papert,_Seymour}} *the Learning Barn / Seymour Papert Institute — has updates on his recovery from his 2006 accident * 25 years EIAH’’, colloque EIAH 2003 [2]

Work: *Logo Foundation *LEGO Mindstorms *Logo Computer Systems Inc. firm cofounded by Papert

Interviews: *Interview from 11 July 2004, on the Broadcasting Corporation network *Video Interview with Seymour Papert from the for Computing Machinery * Conférence vidéo, ‘’colloque EIAH 2003 [3]

Created on 01 Jul 2011, Last modified on 01 Jul 2011