Seymour Papert (1928-2016) was a mathematician and one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is internationally recognized as the seminal thinker regarding computers and pedagogy for children. A mathematician by training, his collaboration with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva led him to consider using mathematics in the service of understanding how children can learn and think. Papert was born and educated in South Africa, where he was an active participant in the anti-apartheid movement.
In the early 1960s, Papert came to MIT, where, with Marvin Minsky, he founded the Artificial Intelligence Lab and co-authored their seminal work Perceptrons (1970). He is also the author of Mindstorms: Children Computers and Powerful Ideas (1980), and The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer (1993). Papert authored numerous articles about mathematics, artificial intelligence, education, learning, and thinking. Dr. Papert’s latest book is The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap (1996). (from official MIT biography)
Papert was also a cofounder of the MIT Media Lab, longtime director for the Media Lab’s Epistemology and Learning Group, later the Future of Learning Group and the first LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at MIT. He was a driving force behind Maine’s law providing every 7th & 8th grader with a laptop and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. Dr. Papert is widely considered the “father of educational computing,” the originator of the learning theory, constructionism and served as inspiration for the movement known as one-to-one computing.
- Gary Stager’s Seymour Papert obituary in Nature
- Martin Boyle’s biography of Seymour Papert, The History of Mr. Papert
- Carol Strohecker’s 2004 biography of Seymour Papert
- Sherry Turkle’s “Remembering Seymour Papert” from the London Review of Books.
- Seymour Papert – Father of the Maker Movement by Gary Stager
- Remembering Seymour Papert: Revolutionary Socialist and Father of A.I., a fascinating look at Papert’s early life in South Africa from Forward.
- The Daily Papert’s print archive of Papert’s writing
- The Daily Papert’s multimedia library of Papert videos and audio
- Papert obituaries from around the world
- Interesting synopsis of biographies and obituaries
A few of Dr. Papert’s students:
- Mitchel Resnick
- Amy Bruckman
- David Cavallo
- Idit Harel Caperton
- Yasmin Kafai
- Uri Wilensky
- Daniel Hillis
- Brian Silverman
- Ken Kahn
- Claudia Urrea
- Carol Strohecker
- Ricki Segall