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10 PRINT Memorial in New Hampshire marks the birthplace of BASIC
20 GOTO 10
After just over 55 years, the birthplace of BASIC has been honoured with a memorial marker in New Hampshire, USA.
Thanks to a campaign by local paper columnist David Brooks, the New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker was installed earlier this month.
Professor John Kemeny, Maths professor Thomas Kurtz, and a group undergraduate students at Dartmouth College (pics) created BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). The first program ran on 1 May 1964.
They also created time-sharing to open up access to all students at the college. The idea was that the computers should be used by all students, not just those studying technical subjects.
The marker was going to include both these achievements but they wouldn't fit onto a small road sign.
BASIC provided the first programming experience for a couple of generations of schoolkids. In the UK, Sinclair computers and later the Acorn/BBC Micro both used versions of BASIC.
But it also had a long life beyond schools − Microsoft's Paul Allen and Bill Gates' first product was a version of BASIC.
The state of New Hampshire has 255 roadside markers celebrating bridges, famous residents and visitors and other events.
Brooks has the following advice for any Reg readers in the area:
To take a selfie with the new marker, find it on the east side of Route 120 about halfway between the old Trumbull Nelson facility and Hanover Public Works.
That location might seem a little odd but state highway markers have to be on state highways and all the roads around Dartmouth College are owned by Hanover or the college itself, so this was about as close as we could get to the school.
Brooks' next campaign is to get recognition for Bernice Perry, who in 1929 became the first woman in New Hampshire to get a pilot's licence. She went on to be a well-known aerial photographer. ®