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Michael Hart, Inventor of the E-book, Dead At 64 70

FeatherBoa writes "Michael Hart, the founder and long time driving force behind Project Gutenberg and 1971 inventor of the electronic book has died at his home in Urbana Ill, on Sept. 6th 2011. Project Gutenberg is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects, has spawned sister projects in Australia, Canada, Germany and other locations to transcribe public domain literature and make it available via the Internet."

Dr. Bussard Passes Away, Polywell Fusion Continues 79

Vinz writes "Dr Bussard, the man behind the Bussard Collector and inventor of the Polywell fusion device, passed away last Sunday in the morning. He leaves behind him a legacy of EM fusion devices, and a team determined to continue his efforts. The news of funding extension for the construction of his WB-7 fusion devices made it to slashdot months ago (as well as his talk at google). They may be a serious candidate in the run to bring commercial fusion, and may work at lower scales than other projects. Let's hope the project continues in good shape despite his departure."

Fantasy Author Robert Jordan Passes Away 571

willith writes "James Oliver Rigney Jr, author of the long-running fantasy series The Wheel of Time and better known to millions of fans by the pen name Robert Jordan, died on 16 Sept 2007 from cardiac amyloidosis. Jordan announced he had been diagnosed with the disease in March 2006 and vowed to beat the odds, but determination and gumption sometimes just aren't enough in the face of a disease with a median survival time of just over two years. Jordan was in the process of writing the twelfth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, but the book was not slated for release until 2009 and is still incomplete. While there is hope that the book will still be finished from Jordan's notes, this is devastating news to all of us who have been reading the series since 1990."

John W. Backus Dies at 82; Developed FORTRAN 271

A number of readers let us know of the passing of John W. Backus, who assembled a team to develop FORTRAN at IBM in the 1950s. It was the first widely used high-level language. Backus later worked on a "function-level" programming language, FP, which was described in his Turing Award lecture "Can Programming be Liberated from the von Neumann Style?" and is viewed as Backus's apology for creating FORTRAN. He received the 1977 ACM Turing Award "for profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages."

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