Sunayana’s Blog

Randy Pausch’s last talk

Posted on: September 23, 2007

“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.”

Right from the “Make me earn it”, when the audience gave him a standing ovation before he started speaking, to the one-handed push ups he did on stage, Prof. Pausch did not for a minute allow anyone to feel pity for him. This was his last lecture, a farewell to Carnegie Mellon, his students, colleagues, friends. Prof. Pausch, now 47, has pancreatic cancer, and little more than a few months to live. He was a professor of the HCI Institute, the School of Design and the SCS in CMU. He was the director of CMU’s Alice programming language foundation, which is a 3D graphics language for teaching programming concepts to high school kids. He resigned from CMU to spend his last days with his family, his wife Jai and his three kids.

Prof. Pausch spoke on “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Some highlights of his talk: Celebrating his wife’s birthday on stage, dark humor, the story about him becoming a journalist to be in 0 gravity, the brick walls, wanting to be Captain Kirk.

In Prof. Pausch’s honor, a bridge is going to be built between the SCS and the School of Design, symbolizing his work in bridging the two disciplines. CMU is also setting up a scholarship for undergraduate women in the SCS in honor of the work he has done for women in CS via Alice.

I personally am a fan of Alice and the idea behind it. I didn’t know about Prof. Pausch before I heard him speak, but now I know that we’re really going to be losing an amazing person, who lived life in the truest sense.

You can watch the talk (wmv version) here.


6 Responses to "Randy Pausch’s last talk"

well I’m sure you would have enjoyed it.

blew me away….[:o]

Yeah, me too 🙂

Some lessons from Randy Pausch’s last lecture that especially moved me:

1. Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
2. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
3. Never lose the child-like wonder.
4. If we do something which is pioneering, we will get arrows in the back. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
5. Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
6. If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and the dreams will come to you.

Check out the tribute quiz on the lecture at : you can add your own questions at the end of the quiz.

Beautiful. Thanks 🙂

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