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Daniel M. Lewin
Born Daniel Mark Lewin
(1970-05-14)May 14, 1970
Denver, Colorado
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 31)
On board American Airlines Flight 11
Cause of death Stabbed
Nationality American-Israeli
Alma mater Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (BA, BS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known for Co-founded Akamai Technologies
Home town Jerusalem, Israel
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Anne Lewin
Children Eitan Lewin (son)
Itamar Lewin (son)
Parents Charles Lewin (father)
Peggy Lewin (mother)
Relatives Jonathan Lewin (brother)
Michael Lewin (brother)
Daniel M. Lewin
Allegiance  Israel
Service/branch Sayeret Matkal
Rank Captain

Daniel "Danny" Mark Lewin (Hebrew: דניאל (דני) מארק לוין‎) (May 14, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an American-Israeli mathematician and entrepreneur who co-founded internet company Akamai Technologies. He died in the September 11 attacks. A passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, it is believed that Lewin was likely stabbed by one of the hijackers of that flight, and may have been the first person killed during the course of the attacks.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Daniel M. Lewin was born in Denver, Colorado,[4] and raised in Israel.[4]

Career[edit | edit source]

He served for four years in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in Sayeret Matkal, one of the more notable IDF special forces units.[4] Lewin earned the rank of captain.[2]

He attended the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa while simultaneously working at IBM's research laboratory in the city.[5] While at IBM, he was responsible for developing the Genesys system,[5] a processor verification tool that is used widely within IBM and in other companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and SGS-Thomson.[5]

Upon receiving a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in 1995,[5] he traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to begin graduate studies toward a Ph.D at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1996. While there, he and his advisor, Professor F. Thomson Leighton, came up with innovative algorithms for optimizing Internet traffic.[6] These algorithms became the basis for Akamai Technologies, which the two founded in 1998.[5] Lewin served as the company's chief technology officer and a board member, and during the height of the Internet boom achieved great wealth.[7] He was posthumously named one of the most influential figures of the Internet age.[by whom?]

Lewin’s name is located on Panel N-75 of the National September 11 Memorial’s North Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 11.

Death and legacy[edit | edit source]

Lewin is survived by his wife Anne and his two sons, Eitan and Itamar, who were aged five and eight at the time of the September 2001 attacks.[4][5][8]

Lewin was reportedly stabbed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 as it was hijacked during the September 11 attacks. A 2001 FAA memo suggests he may have been shot by Satam al-Suqami after he attempted to foil the hijacking.[9][10] According to the FAA, Lewin was seated in business class in seat 9B, close to hijackers Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari and al Suqami (who was possibly seated behind him). It was first reported that he had been shot by al Suqami, although this assertion was later changed to a stabbing. According to the 9/11 Commission, Lewin was stabbed by one of the hijackers, probably Satam al Suqami, who was seated directly behind him. The commission speculates that this may have occurred during an attempt by Lewin to confront one of the hijackers in front of him, not realizing that al Suqami was sitting just behind him.[11] Lewin was identified as the first victim of the September 11 attacks.[2][3][12]

After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was renamed Danny Lewin Square in his honor.[8] The award given to the best student-authored paper at the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) was also named the Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award, in his honor.[6] In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of his death, Lewin's lasting contributions to the Internet were memorialized by friends and colleagues who knew him.[13][14] At the National 9/11 Memorial, Lewin is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-75.[15]

Lewin is the subject of the 2013 biography No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet by Molly Knight Raskin, published by Da Capo Press.

Awards[edit | edit source]

  • 1995 – Technion named him the year's Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering.
  • 1998 – Morris Joseph Levin Award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Leopold, Todd (September 11, 2013). "The legacy of Danny Lewin, the first man to die on 9/11". CNN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sisk, Richard; el-Faizy, Monique (July 24, 2004). "Ex-Israeli commando tried to halt unfolding hijacking". New York City. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/victim-died-hero-flt-11-ex-israeli-commando-halt-unfolding-hijacking-article-1.566014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Liel Leibovitz (11 September 2013). "Remembering Tech Titan Danny Lewin, the Fighting Genius on Flight 11". Tablet. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/144090/fighting-genius-on-flight-11#JHUUgKzL8b1rKlto.01. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Weiss, Efrat (12 September 2001). "Daniel was a very special man" (in Hebrew). Yedioth Ahronoth. Ynet!. http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-1114088,00.html. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 "Akamai Remembers Danny Lewin". Akamai Technologies. http://www.akamai.com/html/about/management_dl.html. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Leighton, Tom (2002). "Remarks made by Tom Leighton to commemorate the naming of the STOC Best Student Paper Award in honor of the late Daniel Lewin". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. http://www.egr.unlv.edu/~bein/SIGACT/lewin.html. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  7. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in Hebrew). Globes. 3 April 2001. http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=481607. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Volume 122, Issue 47". The Tech. MIT. http://tech.mit.edu/V122/N47/lewinFRANKDONE.47p.html. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  9. "UPI hears...". United Press International. 6 March 2002. http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2002/03/06/UPI-hears/UPI-87441015437383/. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  10. Nickisch, Curt (8 September 2011). "Cambridge Co. Keeps Founder’s Spirit Alive After 9/11". WBUR 90.9 Boston's National Public Radio News Station. http://www.wbur.org/2011/09/08/9-11-impact-boston. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  11. "'We Have Some Planes'". National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. July 2004. http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch1.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  12. Ron Jager, Danny Lewin: The First Victim Of 9/11, 5TJT, September 8, 2011
  13. Sitaraman, Ramesh (September 11, 2011). "9/11: A Personal Remembrance". University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  14. Bray, Hiawatha Bray (September 4, 2011). "A lost spirit still inspires". The Boston Globe.
  15. "South Pool: Panel N-75 - Daniel M. Lewin". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. http://names.911memorial.org/#lang=en_US&page=person&id=4430. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 

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