Remembering Danny Lewin: "The Genius Who Transformed the Internet" (Encore presentation.)
(Note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) We speak by phone with Molly Knight Raskin, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Psychology Today, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and elsewhere; her TV credits include two PBS documentaries. Raskin is also the author of "No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet," which The Daily Beast has hailed as "a fascinating biography, but...also a history of the Internet and those who took it from clunky dial-up service to the speed-of-light marvel. It is also the story of the September 11 attacks themselves, and how they ground the exuberance of the 1990s to a halt. Raskin has meticulously reconstructed the buoyancy of the '90s dot-com boom, and her restraint in covering the attacks lends a sober poignancy to Lewin's story." And as was noted further of this genuinely page-turning book, in Booklist: "In the mid-1990s, when the Internet was beginning to attract exponentially more users, its architects were faced with surfing logjams that threatened to slow web traffic to a crawl. Offering one solution to the bottleneck, a group of MIT professors and grad students adapted inventive math algorithms for computer networks and earned rich rewards after forming Akamai Technologies. One key member of Akamai's team was Daniel Lewin, whose life was tragically cut short on 9/11 at 31, when the plane he was on crashed into the World Trade Center. In recounting Lewin's little-known but thoroughly captivating life story, journalist Raskin paints a portrait of a larger-than-life math genius who impressed everyone around him with his boundless energy and charisma. Before attending MIT, Lewin spent four years in the Israeli army's counter-terrorism unit, a background that Lewin almost certainly drew on when he tried to stop the terrorists on American Airlines Flight 11, making him 9/11's first hero and victim. [This book is] a superlatively written and well-deserved tribute to an overlooked Internet pioneer and true American hero."