William Higinbotham

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William Higginbotham
Born William A. Higginbotham
October 25, 1910 (1910-10-25)
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Died November 10, 1994 (1994-11-11)
Gainesville, Georgia
Cause of death Emphysema
Residence American
Known for Tennis for Two, Non-proliferation
Replace this image female.pngWilliam (Willy) A. Higginbotham (October 25, 1910 – November 10, 1994), an American physicist, is credited with creating one of the first computer games, Tennis for Two. Like Pong, it is a portrait of a game of tennis or ping-pong, but featured very different game mechanics that have no resemblance to the later game. As the Head of the Instrumentation Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he created it on an oscilloscope in 1958, to entertain visitors during visitor days at the national laboratory.

He helped fund the nuclear nonproliferation group, Federation of American Scientists, and served as its first chairman and executive secretary.[1]

He earned his undergraduate degree from Williams College in 1932 and continued his studies at Cornell University. During 1941 William went to work on the radar system at MIT until 1943.[2] During World War II, he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and headed the lab's electronics group in the later years of the war.[3]

From 1974 until his death in 1994, Higinbotham served as the technical editor of the Journal of Nuclear Materials Management,[4] published by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management.

He is said to have expressed regret that he would more likely be famous for his invention of a game than for his work on nuclear non-proliferation. When after his death, requests for information on his game increased, his son William B. Higinbotham wrote, "It is imperative that you include information on his nuclear nonproliferation work. That was what he wanted to be remembered for."[5]


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