[LINK] Memorial Service for Professor John Bennett

Peter Bowditch peter at ratbags.com
Sat Feb 12 00:17:04 AEDT 2011

> A memorial service for Australian computer pioneer Professor John
> Bennett AO will be held at the University of Sydney, 24 February 2011.
> Please register your attendance by 18 February 2011:
> <http://www.acs.org.au/index.cfm?action=load&temID=noticedetails&notID
> =1087>.

John gave me my first job as a programmer, at the University of Sydney.

Fast forward a few years. I hadn't seen John for maybe five years and I 
was done up in mortar board and gown, about to receive some piece of paper 
at Macquarie University. Suddenly, John appeared before me and said, as if 
we had been speaking moments before, "Have you seen my daughter, Peter?". 
(She should have been occupying the chair next to me, in alphabetical 
order.) I said something like "Hello John, how are you after all this 
time? No, I haven't seen her". (She had been involved in a car accident on 
the way to the graduation ceremony - no damage except to punctuality.)

After the ceremony and the photographs, John came over to chat to me and 
my family. He asked me if I had been doing any computer stuff at 
university and I said that I had been doing cognitive psychology, 
linguistics, perception and epistemology (sounds like AI, doesn't it?). He 
turned to my father and said: "When we computer people are standing around 
talking about how we know everything about knowledge representation, Peter 
will be able to say 'That's all bullshit'". He then wandered back to talk 
to the CS people. My father asked who he was and I said "The first 
professor of computer science in Australia, founder of the ACS, and the 
man who gave me my first programming job".

I will be at the memorial service. I expect to see some familiar faces 
there, although age might have dimmed the familiarity a little.

Peter Bowditch
The Millenium Project - http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles
Australian Council Against Health Fraud - http://www.acahf.org.au

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