On This Day … 11 March

People (Births)

  • 1915 – J.C.R. Licklider, American computer scientist and psychologist (d. 1990).

People (Deaths)

  • 1999 – Herbert Jasper, Canadian psychologist, anatomist, and neurologist (b. 1906).
  • 1999 – Camille Laurin, Canadian psychiatrist and politician (b. 1922).

J.C.R. Licklider

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (11 March 1915 to 26 June 1990), known simply as J.C.R. or “Lick”, was an American psychologist and computer scientist who is considered among prominent figures in computer science development and general computing history.

He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and its application to all manner of activities; and also as an Internet pioneer with an early vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He did much to initiate this by funding research which led to much of it, including today’s canonical graphical user interface, and the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet.

He has been called “computing’s Johnny Appleseed”, for planting the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC’s Computer Science Laboratory and Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center, noted that “most of the significant advances in computer technology—including the work that my group did at Xerox PARC—were simply extrapolations of Lick’s vision. They were not really new visions of their own. So he was really the father of it all”.

Herbert Jasper

Herbert Henri Jasper, OC GOQ FRSC (27 July 1906 to 11 March 1999) was a Canadian psychologist, physiologist, neurologist, and epileptologist.

Born in La Grande, Oregon, he attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon and received his PhD in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1931 and earned a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Paris for research in neurobiology.

From 1946 to 1964 he was Professor of Experimental Neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University and then from 1965 to 1976 he was Professor of Neurophysiology, Université de Montréal. He did his most important research with Wilder Penfield at McGill University. He was a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also a member of the Canadian Neurological Society and the Royal Society of Medicine. He wrote more than 350 scientific publications.

Camille Laurin

Camille Laurin (06 May 1922 to 11 March 1999) was a psychiatrist and Parti Québécois (PQ) politician in the province of Quebec, Canada. MNA member for the riding of Bourget, he is considered the father of Quebec’s language law known informally as “Bill 101”.

Born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Laurin obtained a degree in psychiatry from the Université de Montréal where he came under the influence of the Roman Catholic priest, Lionel Groulx. After earning his degree, Laurin went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked at the Boston State Hospital. Following a stint in Paris, France, in 1957, he returned to practice in Quebec. In 1961, he authored the preface of the book Les fous crient au secours, which described the conditions of psychiatric hospitals of the time.

He was one of the early founders of the Quebec sovereignty movement. As a senior cabinet minister in the first PQ government elected in the 1976 Quebec election, he was the guiding force behind Bill 101, the legislation that placed restrictions on the use of English on public signs and in the workplace of large companies, and strengthened the position of French as the only official language in Quebec.

Laurin resigned from his cabinet position on 26 November 1984 because of a disagreement with Lévesque on the future of the sovereignty movement. He resigned from his seat in the National Assembly on 25 January 1985. He was elected once again to the Assembly on 12 September 1994 but did not run in the 1998 election for health reasons.

He died after a long battle with cancer.

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