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Hebrew University Leaders in Technology
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Nathaniel S. Borenstein
Founder, First Virtual Holdings

Nathaniel S. Borenstein
 is an American computer scientist. He is one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for formatting multimedia Internet electronic mail and sent the first e-mail attachment.

Borenstein received a B.A. in Mathematics and Religious Studies from Grinnell College in 1980, and a Ph.D in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. Previously he attended Ohio State University(1974–75), Deep Springs CollegeCalifornia (1975–76), and the Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael (1978–79). While at Carnegie Mellon, he co-developed the email component of the Andrew Project. The Andrew Message System was the first multi-media electronic mail system to become used outside of a laboratory. In 1989 he became a member of technical staff at Bellcore (Bell Communications Research). There he developed a series of standards so the various electronic mail systems could exchange multimedia messages in a common way. He is responsible for sending the first email attachment on March 11, 1992.

Borenstein was founder of First Virtual Holdings in 1994, called "the first cyberbank" by the Smithsonian Institution, and in 2000. He worked at IBM as distinguished engineer starting in 2002 at Cambridge, Massachusetts. He then became chief scientist at email management company Mimecast in June 2010.

He is author of Programming As If People Mattered: Friendly Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions (Princeton University Press, 1994). He received the New York University Olive Branch Award for writing about peace in 1990, for an essay about his brief experience as a NATO consultant.

His mentors include his doctoral advisor and the director of the Andrew project, Jim Morris, and Einar Stefferud, who initiated the MIME and First Virtual work.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.


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