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Outside the classroom, Stallman pursued his studies with even more diligence, rushing off to fulfill his
laboratory-assistant duties at Rockefeller University during the week and dodging the Vietnam protesters on his
way to Saturday school at Columbia. It was there, while the rest of the Science Honors Program students sat
around discussing their college choices, that Stallman finally took a moment to participate in the preclass bull session.
Perhaps the most enjoyable emotion, however, was the sense of personal fulfillment. When it came to hacking, Stallman
was a natural. A childhood's worth of late-night study sessions gave him the ability to work long hours with little sleep.
As a social outcast since age 10, he had little difficulty working alone. And as
a mathematician with built-in gift for logic and foresight, Stallman possessed the ability to circumvent design barriers that left most hackers spinning their wheels.
By the end of his first semester at Brandeis, things were falling into place. A 96 in English wiped away much of the stigma of
the 60 earned 2 years before. For good measure, Stallman backed it up with top marks in American History,
Advanced Placement Calculus, and Microbiology. The crowning touch was a perfect 100 in Physics. Though still a social outcast,
Stallman finished his 11 months at Brandeis as the fourth-ranked student in a class of 789.
Two years after the explosion, the rate of innovation began to exhibit dangerous side effects. The explosive
growth had provided an exciting validation of the collaborative hacker approach, but it had also led to over-complexity.
"We had a Tower of Babel effect," says Guy Steele.
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