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"Last Lecture" CMU Professor Randy Pausch Dies 208

Posted by kdawson
from the imagineering-on-the-other-side dept.
Many readers are sending in word that Randy Pausch has died at 47. The charismatic young college professor celebrated life despite a death sentence from pancreatic cancer in a remarkable speech widely known as the "Last Lecture." The video went viral and has been downloaded by over 10 million people.
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"Last Lecture" CMU Professor Randy Pausch Dies

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  • Worth the time (Score:5, Informative)

    by phasm42 (588479) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:35AM (#24335937)
    For those of you who haven't seen the video, take some time to watch it. Really, it's worth it.
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:35AM (#24335943) Journal
    Discovered his lecture on the internet late last year just as I was moving to Pittsburgh. It's quite an interesting and inspiring story. He was a remarkable individual. Rest in Peace, friend.
  • Respect (Score:5, Funny)

    by igny (716218) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:36AM (#24335945) Homepage Journal
    Is it possible to organize a minute of silence on the Slashdot? Oh well, I know the answer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Sebilrazen (870600)

      Is it possible to organize a minute of silence on the Slashdot? Oh well, I know the answer.

      According to timestamps you got 2.

  • Godspeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by D Ninja (825055) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:38AM (#24335975)

    That was an amazing speech, Professor Pausch. Your family will be in my prayers. You had a great way of looking at life, and I sincerely believe that your children will benefit very much from that.

    I know many people who already have...

    • Re:Godspeed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:00AM (#24336339) Homepage Journal

      He was a remarkable man. I live just north of Pittsburgh and had the honor of meeting him briefly early last year. He will be remembered well by all, not just those around the CMU area.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        His speech was extremely well done and very powerful. I would have loved to meet him, but I know I'll still remember him-- and I hope the 10,000 people who downloaded his video will too.

  • Prosper. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PunditGuy (1073446) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:38AM (#24335977)
    He apparently has a speaking role [wikipedia.org] in the new Star Trek film. I wouldn't be surprised to see a dedication now as well.

    Everyone hug your kids or your parents or whomever is next to you (if that's allowed by your HR policy). You never know when your time is up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by harry666t (1062422)
      > Everyone hug your kids or your parents or whomever
      > is next to you (if that's allowed by your HR policy).

      That's what I've been doing from the day one. Hugging has some mysterious power in it, if I can say it this way. However, many people seem not to like hugging. I think that people "simply" have a subconscious fear of fully giving and fully accepting love. There's not much you can help other people about this, unless: you really want to; the other person also really wants to; you know how to show
      • Re:Prosper. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) <xenophon+slashdot@irtnog.org> on Friday July 25, 2008 @01:06PM (#24338589) Homepage

        However, many people seem not to like hugging. I think that people "simply" have a subconscious fear of fully giving and fully accepting love.

        On the contrary, I think that some people naturally avoid insincere affection as a defensive mechanism, to avoid being manipulated or otherwise taken advantage of. Hugs invoke a degree of physical intimacy that isn't always appropriate (especially in professional, as opposed to recreational or religious, contexts).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Couldn't agree more. Hugging is something I reserve for a certain set of people ... people I don't know or don't like just piss me off when they try to hug me.
  • by D Ninja (825055) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:41AM (#24336041)

    Follow the link for the transcription of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture [go.com].

  • by n0dna (939092) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:42AM (#24336061)

    How much he loved them and what a truly remarkable and inspirational person he was.

    Requiem in Pacet.

  • He was many things to many people, and my condolences to all who knew him personally.
  • by garylian (870843) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:44AM (#24336085)

    Off all the viral videos I've seen over the years, I think his "Last Lecture" was the most moving and worthwhile I have ever seen.

    It's pretty hard to talk about something as scary as terminal cancer, yet while he kept reminding the listeners of his condition, his energy and charisma kept making you forget that the man was sick.

    It's too bad the article that Yahoo! had failed to mention that he got to spend a day with the Pittsburgh Steelers and their wide receiver, Hines Ward. While he didn't actually play in the NFL, I imagine he came as close as he was going to get. I think he managed to nail all of his "bucket list".

    People with such great vision are hard to come by. Having that vision while still having such a willingness to share it with others, with great entusiasm, is even more rare.

    May his family keep their memories of him always in their minds. R.I.P.

    • by dasunst3r (947970) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:51AM (#24336187) Homepage

      No kidding -- I shed a few tears for this guy. If there was one thing I got from that lecture, it was a different perspective on brick walls. On the bright side, he beat the odds by a nontrivial amount, and he savored every last moment he could.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hansraj (458504) *

      It's too bad the article that Yahoo! had failed to mention that he got to spend a day with the Pittsburgh Steelers and their wide receiver, Hines Ward. While he didn't actually play in the NFL, I imagine he came as close as he was going to get.

      Which article are you talking about? The linked article on abcnews.go.com does mention this on the last page. From TFA:

      But even though he had enabled the dreams of so many others, we couldn't help but notice that there was one dream Pausch had never been able to fulfill -- playing in the NFL.

      So ABC News made a couple of phone calls, and in October, Pausch took the field with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was wearing the jersey of his favorite player: wide receiver Heinz Ward.

      Moments later he was catching balls thrown by Ward.

      He caught every pass -- and even kicked a field goal, on his first attempt.

  • If only... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:46AM (#24336123) Homepage Journal

    If only our politicians were a 1/10th of the man that he was.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:51AM (#24336185)

      Or, failing that, if only they could die as quickly as he did.

      (Apologies for the inappropriate humour, I was deeply moved by his lecture and even more so by his passing away. On behalf of ACs all over the internet, I wish him much success in the great lecture hall in the sky.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by j-pimp (177072)

        Or, failing that, if only they could die as quickly as he did.

        (Apologies for the inappropriate humour, I was deeply moved by his lecture and even more so by his passing away. On behalf of ACs all over the internet, I wish him much success in the great lecture hall in the sky.)

        Which would mean all our politicians will be Jeffersons, JFKs or Obama's. We'd never get a Franklin or a Regan.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by tjstork (137384)

          Jefferon, JFKs or Obama

          When Obama drafts the Declaration of Independence, in doing so works to win a war against a power many times in economic and military strength, doubles the size of the United States, I'd then put him in the same category as Jefferson.

          When Obama sleeps with the equivalent of Marylin Munroe, then I'd put him in the same category as Kennedy.

          • ...the equivalent of Marylin Munroe...
            Jenna Jameson?
          • by j-pimp (177072)

            Jefferon, JFKs or Obama

            When Obama drafts the Declaration of Independence, in doing so works to win a war against a power many times in economic and military strength, doubles the size of the United States, I'd then put him in the same category as Jefferson.

            When Obama sleeps with the equivalent of Marylin Munroe, then I'd put him in the same category as Kennedy.

            The point was their all young. I don't like Obama either. I think he could do great things I would completely disagree with if he becomes president, or just become another beltway insider.

            BTW I'm quite sure Obama could sleep with almost any woman he wanted to. I think he has a sense of fidelity or hasn't gotten caught yet.

            And if you can't name a third good young politician off the top of your head, it proves my point.

    • What a strange belief. Politics has been wrong and screwed up all the time, but it's just because it wasn't the right guy... And cue the supporters of a candidate : THIS guy, now he's for real, etc. Get a perspective, it's a systemic problem.

    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ndansmith (582590) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:46AM (#24337097)

      If only our politicians were a 1/10th of the man that he was.

      No! Don't waste good men on politics!

    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:46AM (#24337113)

      If only our politicians were a 1/10th of the man that he was..

      .. then we would vote against them, in favor of someone who has a better marketing department. Like we always do.

    • If only our politicians were a 1/10th of the man that he was.

      Sadly, they are.

    • Oh, I'd say they're probably about a tenth of him. That sounds about right.

  • by travisbean (614697) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:49AM (#24336169) Homepage
    While he recently became a household name with The Last Lecture, he was a longtime proponent of gaming as a vehicle for computer science education. His work at CMU, and partnerships with Disney and Electronic Arts, helped legitimize gaming and play in the university, and brought the university into the video game industry. Even before The Last Lecture anyone who had the chance to study with him or just chat with him for a few minutes knew they were talking with a man with a passion for play, technology and life, and a lifelong sense of wonder we can all emulate. Three cheers for Randy Pausch!
  • RIP. A widely regarded and inspiring lesson in accepting your cards as they are dealt, concentrating on the important stuff and making the most of your time. If you have not yet watched the lecture then make time to do so.
  • Tearful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shashark (836922) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:53AM (#24336209)

    I'm all tears as I write this. I've been following Prof Pausch on web since the time that video was posted. If you see his video, blog and other web commentary, you would realize how he was the embodiment of positive energy.

    Hell, I even checked on him last week - and his blog posted that he was off chemo. I was happy to know that he was doing well. :(

    Prof Pausch, we will miss you.

    • Re:Tearful (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peterprior (319967) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:59AM (#24336311)

      Quote: "I mean, the metaphor I've used is ... somebody's going to push my family off a cliff pretty soon, and I won't be there to catch them. And that breaks my heart. But I have some time to sew some nets to cushion the fall. So, I can curl up in a ball and cry, or I can get to work on the nets."

      Wow.

      • Re:Tearful (Score:5, Insightful)

        by glavenoid (636808) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:22AM (#24336695) Journal
        That is probably the single most touching thing I have ever seen or read. That kind of attitude, especially when staring at his own mortality, is the very definition of all things honourable. Not only did he lay out those nets for his own family, but for everyone. Professor Pausch will be missed by many, for sure, but his great deeds and genuine humility will continue to inspire, and will far outlast any sorrow...
  • ... and thanks for some inspiration.
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squarooticus (5092) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:58AM (#24336305) Homepage

    You have to be brave to be able to face what he did the way he did it. I think I would rather be run over by a train without a moment's notice.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:55AM (#24337277) Homepage

      Each morning it's brave to get up and go into that cruel, cruel world.

      Each breath you take is one less to your last.

      Each step or action you take is one less to your last.

      The only difference with him and the rest of us was that he was revealed the sand left in the top of his hourglass.

      If I were faced with this as he was, I could only hope to forge forward as he did.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by techpawn (969834)
        When you see the sand left in the hour glass you have two choices:
        1. Watch it and wait
        2. Or move on and feel as though you can complete all you need to complete

        To everyone who hasn't has to glance at the sand and make that choice, it's disheartening how many people don't chose to live life as if they could be taken away at any moment. As someone who even had to THINK about it, it saddens me that I cannot live my life ready to leave at a moments notice.
        But, at least I didn't stop to watch the sand flow out and n

    • by peter303 (12292) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:02PM (#24337409)
      A couple weeks ago an article in the "Aging" series tabulated:
      Cancer 20%
      Heart Disease 25%
      Old Age decline - demntia, pneumonia, etc. 40%
      Other - accidents, etc. 15%
    • by styrotech (136124)

      Your friends and family wouldn't want it that way though.

  • My Condolances (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scubamage (727538) on Friday July 25, 2008 @10:59AM (#24336317)
    Rest in peace. Both the world and academia need more men like you. Thank you for the inspiration you've given me without ever even meeting me. You will be missed.
  • My dad too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:02AM (#24336377)

    My father is also a professor (of civil engineering) and is dying of the same. He linked me this video - I'm afraid to watch it, afraid I'll break down.

    I thank him anyway, to know that I am not alone.

    • Re:My dad too (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seakip18 (1106315) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:16AM (#24336609) Journal

      You owe it to your dad and Pausch's memory to watch it.

      He knew how hard the future was going to be to him and his family. Instead of resigning himself to his fate, he poured his heart and soul into achieving the dreams he has held and preparing his children for the future. A noble effort and one that inspires, even in such sad times.

    • Not going to tell you that you owe it to anyone to watch it, but you'd get something good out of it.

    • Re:My dad too (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:58PM (#24338453) Homepage

      My father is also a professor (of civil engineering) and is dying of the same. He linked me this video - I'm afraid to watch it, afraid I'll break down.

      Don't be afraid to break down. The classic Northern European stoicism isn't really all that healthy. The whole "real men don't cry" notion is ridiculous--- real men don't adhere to silly macho notions. Sad people cry. I friend of mine died last week from a bad reaction to a prescription drug. She left behind 3 young kids. The funeral was yesterday, and you better believe I was crying.

  • by Trespass (225077) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:11AM (#24336525) Homepage

    A: You kill him.

  • by blp (4207) <blp@cs.stanford.edu> on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:16AM (#24336615) Homepage

    ...then I think his video must have metastatized, instead of going viral.

  • by lyapunov (241045) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:16AM (#24336627)

    I actually read the article first and then googled more references.
    This article is amazing. [brownalumnimagazine.com]

    My wife's father died from metastatic colin cancer that went to his lungs. She still has bouts of depression, and I have often wondered what I should be doing to help her and my kids should I check out early. This is the best that I have ever come across.

  • Fascinating man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 99luftballon (838486) on Friday July 25, 2008 @11:24AM (#24336733)
    Got sent his video and was entranced. It summed up an awful lot of what I felt was wrong with my life. I'd raise a glass to him but have given up drinking based on that lecture.
  • Even knowing it was coming, and coming sooner rather than later, it is still a tremendous shock to know that we have lost such an inspirational man.

    How lucky we are to have his message.

    For his wife Jai and his beautiful children, I hope that it is eventually some comfort to know that humanity recognizes what a unique gift we were privileged to share with you.

  • by whipping_post (521700) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:18PM (#24337695) Homepage
    I had Prof. Pausch as a teacher, in '97 or '98, at the University of Virginia in a "Usability Engineering" class. It was hands down the best class I took at The University, and he was an absolutely amazing teacher. His "last lecture" made him famous, but his work in the classroom is what made him great.
  • After watching his lecture on TED, I began implementing his teaching strategies in my training classes at my workplace...turns out the head fake concept works very well ;)
  • We all kind of know something vaguely in he back of minds. But what if you knew exactly? Would people behave differently? Randy used his final time wisely.
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday July 25, 2008 @01:12PM (#24338711) Journal

    I am sure that he'd appreciate a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245 [pancan.org]

    The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Mourns the Loss of Friend and Supporter, Dr. Randy Pausch

    Dear Friends,

    It is with great sadness that the staff and I mourn the passing of Dr. Randy Pausch.

    Dr. Pausch, the Carnegie-Mellon professor who delivered the now famous The Last Lecture speech about the importance of achieving your childhood dreams, became a friend and supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. He was also a loving husband, a devoted father, and a mentor who not only influenced and inspired his students and colleagues, but went on to inspire thousands, if not millions of people to follow their hearts and their dreams. We will be forever grateful for his support and commitment.

    It is critically important to keep Dr. Pausch's message, "to make every day matter in the fight against pancreatic cancer," moving forward. He knew the importance and urgency of getting the message out to help drive the research funding needed to fight this disease. His philosophy of "every day matters" was a testament to his determination and strength despite the odds.

    The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network honors Dr. Randy Pausch for his humanity and bravery during his fight against this terrible disease. His commitment to our organization will never be forgotten. We will miss him.

    Sincerely,

    Julie Fleshman

    I will miss this man, even though I have never met him in person (I so wish I did), his lecture, like himself, is unforgettable. It was the most important lecture I have ever had the honour of participating - even though from a distance.

  • You can watch it on YouTube, but unfortunately only broken up in small segments. I think it's much better to watch the whole lecture at once. I have found a Torrent for the video, I'm downloading (and seeding it) now.

  • I saw this article and the name vaguely rang a bell. Turns out, I was at UVa the same time he was there. I was also interested in VR, and did some extracurricular work with it that didn't go anywhere; but I learned a lot of valuable skills doing that. That connection, although tenuous, gives the lecture even more impact for me. It's sobering to think that I might have passed him in the halls and not even known. RIP, Mr. Pausch. And for the rest of us, carpe diem.

  • Couldn't get in, but at least this lecture talks about the brick walls. This lecture is pretty inspiring. It woulda been nice to have known the guy.
  • I feel like I'm the only one who wasn't super impressed by the lecture. I found it cheesy at times. I'd like to hear from people who did like it exactly why you like it and what was so earth-shattering about what he had to say. Sure, he was a nice guy. But of what he said, was it really that good?

  • I wish... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dindi (78034) on Friday July 25, 2008 @07:17PM (#24343941) Homepage

    I wish my schools had figures like this guy...

    I went to school in eastern Europe, where we got a STRONG education=good education with a hard exam system.

    Still sometimes it is not quantity of knowledge but positive spirit what people should be getting.

    I read some negative comments, and I feel sorry for the people posting them.,,,,

    Well, just my opinion.... and while I read a lot of interesting TECH stuff on /. (and thank for it), this is really a piece (the video) I am thankful for.

    Cheers

  • ...I can learn to live like you did, Randy. Thank you, you will be missed, remembered, honored and followed.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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