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Krinsky, 20, dies of cancer


A memorial service will be conducted outside the Student Center at 8:30pm tonight (September 15) for Benjamin R. Krinsky, an electrical engineering and computer science major in the Class of 2000. Mr. Krinsky, 20, died at University Hospital in Stony Brook, NY, on September 3 after a six-month battle with brain cancer.

Mr. Krinsky, corresponding secretary of Zeta Psi, died in his sleep, the day after a visit from several of his fraternity brothers and other friends from MIT. At the onset of his illness last February, he had just been inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Friends said Mr. Krinsky was known for his boundless energy, restless intelligence, ironclad logic and acerbic wit. He had a superb prose style and a gift for verse parodies, an encyclopedic knowledge of history and a knack for chemistry. He was generous with his time and enjoyed helping his friends with their projects and problems.

Mr. Krinsky participated in the 6.270 Autonomous Robot Design Competition in 1998 and was a volunteer for Project Contact, the MIT student recruiting association. He worked in the Media Laboratory's Intelligent Graphics Division, developing a program to visualize railroad time schedules for the US Department of Transportation. During an internship at Microsoft in the summer after his freshman year, he contributed to the Microsoft Internet Information Service/Microsoft Certificate Server that will become a part of Windows NT 5.0. His second summer internship was at Charles River Analytics.

He had an extensive collection of contemporary popular music; during his illness, he was involved in efforts to copy concert recordings onto compact discs and exchange them with like-minded enthusiasts he met over the Internet. He had a lifelong loyalty to the New York Mets and the Islanders, though he enjoyed the Red Sox at Fenway Park with the brothers from Zeta Psi.

Starting at age 10, he began to master a variety of computer languages on increasingly sophisticated computers. Throughout his early teens, he volunteered as a tutor at the Children's Creative Workshop enrichment program to share his expertise with younger computer enthusiasts. He completed a high school Westinghouse Research Project at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

A native of Long Island, Mr. Krinsky graduated from Ward Melville High School in Setauket. His work as managing editor of the school newspaper Kaleidoscope was recognized by Newsday for distinguished commentary. His parodies of canonical American poetry earned a Gold Award for Humor in the 1996 Scholastic Writing Competition, given to three seniors in the nation.

Mr. Krinsky is survived by his parents, Faith and Samuel of East Setauket; a sister, Sylvia; his grandparents, Ellen and M. Leonard Kuniholm; and his great-grandmother Lydia Johnson. A memorial service was conducted at the Bryant Funeral Home in Setauket on September 5. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Department of Radiology, L-2/Room 643, Stony Brook Foundation #2-64510/University Hospital, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794.

A version of this article appeared in the September 15, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 44, Number 5).

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