Theodor Holm Nelson (born June 17, 1937) is an American pioneer of information technology, philosopher, and sociologist. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963, and published them in 1965. Nelson has also been credited as being the first person to use the words transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity, and teledildonics.
Nelson is the son of Emmy Award-winning director Ralph Nelson and the Academy Award-winning actress Celeste Holm. His parents' marriage was brief and he was mostly raised by his grandparents, first in Chicago and later in Greenwich Village.
Nelson earned a BA from Swarthmore College in 1959. While there, he made an experimental humorous student film titled The Epiphany of Slocum Furlow, in which the titular hero discovers the meaning of life. His contemporary at the college, musician and composer Peter Schickele scored the film. In 1960 Nelson began graduate work at Harvard University in philosophy, earning a Master's Degree in sociology in 1963. Much later in life, in 2002, he obtained a Doctorate in Media and Governance from Keio University.
During college and graduate school, he envisioned a computer-based writing system that would provide a lasting repository for the world's knowledge, and also permit greater flexibility of drawing connections between ideas. This came to be known as Project Xanadu...
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