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Nathaniel Borenstein
Born September 23, 1957
Education Grinnell College, Deep Springs College, Ohio State University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation Computer Scientist
Employer IBM Corporation
Known for e-mail, MIME, Internet standards
Title Chief Open Standards Strategist and Distinguished Engineer

Nathaniel Borenstein (born September 23, 1957) is one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for formatting multimedia Internet electronic mail.[1]

Currently Chief Open Standards Strategist and Distinguished Engineer at IBM, Borenstein was founder of[2] and First Virtual Holdings, called "the first cyberbank" by the Smithsonian Institution. He received his B.A. in Mathematics and Religious Studies from Grinnell College, while he earned a M.S. and a Ph.D from Carnegie Mellon University. He also attended Deep Springs College, California (1975-76), Ohio State University (1974-75), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (1978-79).

He is author of Programming As If People Mattered: Friendly Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions (Princeton University Press, 1994) ISBN 0691037639.


Personal life

Borenstein lives with his wife, Trina, in Ann Arbor and Greenbush, Michigan; they have four grown daughters. He has been a vegetarian since 1972. He is a pacifist, named his web server and wireless network "ahimsa", and has worked for a mix of pacifist, leftist, and libertarian causes.[3]

Authored Requests For Comments (RFCs)

  • RFC 1344 – Implications of MIME for Internet Mail Gateways
  • RFC 1524 – A User Agent Configuration Mechanism for Multimedia Mail Format Information
  • RFC 2045 – MIME Part One: Format of Internet Message Bodies
  • RFC 2046 – MIME Part Two: Media Types
  • RFC 2049 – MIME Part Five: Conformance Criteria and Examples


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Nathaniel Borenstein (born September 23, 1957) is one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for sending multimedia Internet electronic mail.


  • "The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in. We're computer professionals. We cause accidents." [Comment while teaching a Software Engineering course at CMU, circa 1985.]
  • "It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter." [Footnote in a paper about computational email.[1][2]]
  • "Spam is bad. The amazing degree of unanimity that greets such a simple declaration is, paradoxically, the biggest impediment to progress in anti-spam standards." [Presentation to NIST/FCC on the spam problem, 2004.]


External links

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