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Mathematician, Computer Programmer (18151852)
The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelacebetter
known as "Ada Lovelace"was born in London on December 10, 1815. Ada showed her gift for
mathematics at an early age. She translated an article on an invention by Charles Babbage, and
added her own comments. Because she introduced many computer concepts, Ada is considered
the first computer programmer. Ada died on November 27, 1852.
Early Years
Ada Lovelace, born as Augusta Ada Byron, was the only legitimate child of the famous poet
Lord George Gordon Byron. Lord Byron's marriage to Ada's mother, Lady Anne Isabella
Milbanke Byron, was not a happy one. Lady Byron separated from her husband only weeks after
their daughter was born. A few months later, Lord Byron left England, and Ada never saw her
father again. He died in Greece when Ada was 8 years old.

Ada had an unusual upbringing for an aristocratic girl in the mid-1800s. At her mother's
insistence, tutors taught her mathematics and science. Such challenging subjects were not
standard fare for women at the time, but her mother believed that engaging in rigorous studies
would prevent Lovelace from developing her father's moody and unpredictable temperament.
Ada was also forced to lie still for extended periods of time because her mother believed it would
help her develop self-control.
From early on, Lovelace showed a talent for numbers and language. She received instruction
from William Frend, a social reformer; William King, the family's doctor; and Mary Somerville,
a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. Somerville was one of the first women to be admitted
into the Royal Astronomical Society.
Babbage and the Analytical Engine
Around the age of 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician and inventor. The pair became
friends, and the much older Babbage served as a mentor to Ada. Through Babbage, Ada began
studying advanced mathematics with University of London professor Augustus de Morgan.
Ada was fascinated by Babbage's ideas. Known as the father of the computer, he invented the
difference engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations. Ada got a chance to
look at the machine before it was finished, and was captivated by it. Babbage also created plans
for another device known as the analytical engine, designed to handle more complex
Ada was later asked to translate an article on Babbage's analytical engine that had been written
by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. She not only translated the
original French text in English, but also added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her
notes ended up being three times longer than the original article. Her work was published in
1843, in an English science journal. Ada used only the initials "A.A.L.," for Augusta Ada
Lovelace, in the publication.
In her notes, Ada described how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and
symbols along with numbers. She also theorized a method for the engine to repeat a series of
instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use today. Ada also offered up
other forward-thinking concepts in the article. For her work, Ada is often considered to be the
first computer programmer.
Ada's article attracted little attention when she was alive. In her later years, she tried to develop
mathematical schemes for winning at gambling. Unfortunately, her schemes failed and put her in
financial peril. Ada died from uterine cancer in London on November 27, 1852. She was buried

next to her father, in the graveyard of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Nottingham,
Personal Life
In 1835, Ada married William King, who became the Earl of Lovelace three years later. She then
took the title of Countess of Lovelace. They shared a love of horses and had three children
together. From most accounts, he supported his wife's academic endeavors. Ada and her husband
socialized with many of the interesting minds of the times, including scientist Michael Faraday
and writer Charles Dickens.
Ada's health suffered, however, after a bout of cholera in 1837. She had lingering problems with
asthma and her digestive system. Doctors gave her painkillers, such as laudanum and opium, and
her personality began to change. She reportedly experienced mood swings and hallucinations.
Ada Lovelace's contributions to the field of computer science were not discovered until the
1950s. Her notes were reintroduced to the world by B.Y. Bowden, who republished them
in Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines in 1953. Since then, Ada
has received many posthumous honors for her work. In 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense
named a newly developed computer language "Ada," after Lovelace.

Physicist, Scientist, Inventor (19001973)
Howard Hathaway Aiken was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8th of March 1900, as the only child
in the family of Daniel H. Aiken, from a wealthy and well-established Indiana family, and Margaret
Emily Mierisch-Aiken, a child of German immigrants. When he was just entering his teens, he
moved, with his parents and his maternal grandparents, to Indianapolis.
Daniel Aiken was addicted to alcohol and, during fits of drunkenness, would physically abuse his
wife. During one such episode, young Howard, already large and strong at the age of 12, grabbed a
fireplace poker and drove his father out of the house. The family never saw Daniel Aiken again.
Once the father had disappeared, the paternal relatives would have nothing more to do with young
Howard or his mother and did not help them financially. Aiken was in the ninth grade when it became
his responsibility to support his mother and grandmother. This meant that he would have to leave
school and go to work. He got a job installing telephones (12 hour shifts) and began to take
correspondence courses. One of his teachers however, having seen signs of Aiken's intellectual
brilliance, especially in mathematics, went to see Mrs. Aiken to plead that her son return to school.
Because of the family's pressing financial needs, Mrs. Aiken could not acquiesce. The teacher then
found Aiken a night job (Howard was very found of this job, because he had to work only 8 hours
every night!) as an electrician's helper for the Indianapolis Light and Heat Company, so he would be
able to attend school during the day.

Aiken completed his studies at the Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis in 1919. Then he
was offered a job with the Madison Gas and Electric Company and decided to go to the University of
Wisconsin. Aiken and his mother moved to Madison, where he enrolled in a program in electrical
engineering at the university. In college, as in high school, Aiken won the respect of his teachers. To
support his mother and himself, he worked on the night shift as a switchboard operator for the
Madison Gas and Electric Company, while attending college during the day. In 1923 he was awarded
a B.S. degree in electrical engineering.
After his graduation from Wisconsin, Aiken was promoted to the position of chief engineer in the
Madison Gas and Electric Company. In 1927 Aiken resigned this company to enter the Central Station
Division of the Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Company as a general engineer, engaged
in application of the company's products to designing of electric generating stations. In 1931 he
resigned from Westinghouse to become a district manager of the Line Material Company in Detroit,
Despite his success, he found the managerial side of engineering unsatisfying and decided to go back
to school. In 1932 he went first to the University of Chicago, where he matriculated as a graduate
student in physics in the autumn of 1932 and where he remained for only two quarters of the regular
academic year, because he didn't like the Chicago program. In the autumn of 1933 he began his
graduate studies at Harvard, where received his A.M. in physics in June 1937 and completed his thesis
(Theory of Space Charge Conduction) in the autumn of 1938. He was awarded his Ph.D. in physics at
the winter commencement in February 1939. Namely during creation of his doctoral thesis he got the
idea of creating of a automatic computer (see the computers of Aiken). Aiken began teaching at
Harvard as Instructor in Physics and Communication Engineering in the academic year 1935/36,
before he received his master's degree. He was to become an associate professor of applied
mathematics in 1941 and a full professor in 1946.
In 1961 (see the nearby photo from this time), Aiken took advantage of Harvard's policy of allowing
faculty members to retire early-that is, to retire at age 60 with full benefits, without having to wait
until he was 66. By then, in certain respects, Aiken had become a conservative figure in the world of
computing. In the 1950s, at the age of fifty-plus, he was already "old" by the standards of this rapidly
advancing science, art, and technology. Computer science and invention had become a young man's
game. Even in the years just after the war, many of the major advances had come from young men,
trained in the new electronics of radar, rather than in classical electrical engineering, as was the case
with Aiken.
Howard Aiken was a giant of a man in force of will, in originality of mind, and in achievements.
Standing almost two meters, he had a huge dome of a head, piercing eyes, and huge, somewhat
satanic eyebrows. He judged others rigorously and he related to others in extremes. Some colleagues
and some former students remained devoted to him for the rest of their lives; others tend to remember
only occasions when he was intransigent and difficult. When Aiken came in contact with an equally

strong and assertive character, such as Thomas J. Watson Sr., president of IBM, then conflict was
Aiken contributed to the early computing years by demonstrating that a large, calculating computer
could not only be built, but could also provide the scientific world with high-powered, speedy
mathematical solutions to a plethora of problems. Aiken is also well known for his 1947 comment,
"Only six electronic digital computers would be required to satisfy the computing needs of the entire
United States." His biographers however cannot confirm this not so prophetic prediction.
Howard Aiken was married three times. The first marriage was in 1939 to Louise Mancill. The family
had one daughter, Rachel, but the couple divorced in 1942. Aiken married second time was in January,
1943, to a high school Latin and French teacherAgnes Montgomery (Monty). They had one
daughter also: Elizabeth, but this marriage also ended with divorce in 1961. Aiken married third time
in 1963 to a teacher in the elementary schools of BostonMary McFarland (they had no children).
After retirement, Aiken moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was given an appointment at the
University of Miami as a Distinguished Professor of Information. This did not require any teaching
responsibilities, but gave him an office. He then became a business entrepreneur, (founded a New
York-based consulting firm, Howard Aiken Industries Incorporated), taking over ailing businesses
and nursing them back to financial good health, whereupon they were sold. He also kept up his
computer activity, serving as a consultant to Lockheed Missiles and Monsanto (who were exploring
the potentialities of magnetic bubbles for computer technology). His final contribution in the computer
domain was a means of encryption of data to provide security of information.
This extraordinary man died on March 14, 1973 in St. Louis, while on a consulting trip to Monsanto.

Theologian, Philosopher, Physicist, Scientist, Mathematician (16231662)
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher, who laid the
foundation for the modern theory of probabilities.
was born on June 19, 1623, in Clermont-Ferrand, France. In 1642, he invented the Pascaline, an
early calculator. Also in the 1640s, he validated Torricelli's theory concerning the cause of
barometrical variations. In the 1650s, Pascal laid the foundation of probability theory and
published the theological works Pnsees and Provinciales. Pascal died in Paris on August 19,
Early Life
Inventor, mathematician, physicist and theological writer Blaise Pascal, born on June 19, 1623 in
Clermont-Ferrand, France, was the third of four children and only son to Etienne and Antoinette
Pascal. His mother, Antoinette, passed away when he was just a toddler. He was exceptionally
close to his two older sisters, Gilberte and Jacqueline. His father, Etienne, was a tax collector and
a talented mathematician.
Etienne moved the family to Paris in 1631. There, he decided to educate Blaisea child prodigy
himself so he could design his own unorthodox curriculum and make sure that Blaise didn't
work too hard. Ironically, Etienne entirely omitted mathematics from Blaises early curriculum.
Etienne was concerned that Blaise would become so fascinated with geometry that he wouldnt
be unable to focus on classical subjects.

The beginning of Blaises education in Paris was geared toward languages, especially Latin and
Greek. Even so, Etienne's plan backfired: The fact that mathematics was a forbidden topic made
the subject even more interesting to the inquisitive boy, who at the age of 12 began exploring
geometry on his own. He even made up his own terminology, not having learned the official
terms. The prodigy quickly managed to work out that the sum of a triangle's angles are equal to
two right angles.
Etienne was impressed. In answer to Blaise's unswerving fascination, his father permitted him to
read Euclid. Etienne also at last allowed Blaise to accompany him to meetings at the
mathematics academy in Paris. It was there, at age 16, that Blaise presented a number of his early
theorems, including his "mystical hexagon." Blaise could not have asked for a better audience; in
attendance were some of the premier mathematical thinkers of the time, including Marin
Mersenne, Pierre Gassendi and Clyde Mydorge, to name a few.
In 1640, the Pascal family drew up stakes once again. They moved to Rouen, France, where
Blaise's father had been appointed to collect taxes. Within just a year of moving, Blaise
published his first written work, Essay on Conic Sections. The essay constituted an important
leap forward in projective geometry, which involved transferring a 3-D object onto a 2-D field.
In 1646, Etienne was seriously injured in an accident that rendered him housebound. The
accident created a shift in the whole family's religious beliefs. The Pascals had never fully
embraced the local Jesuits' ideas. After Etienne's accident, a visit from a group of Jansenists led
the family to convert to that belief system. During the year that Etienne convalesced, two
Jansenist brothers watched over Blaise. As a result of their influence, Blaise became devoutly
Inventions and Discoveries
A true trailblazer and a child prodigy to boot, Blaise Pascal started his prolific stream of
groundbreaking inventions and discoveries when he was still just a teen. In 1642, at age 18,
inspired by the idea of making his father's job of calculating taxes easier, Pascal invented an
early calculator, dubbed the Pascaline. (German polymath William Schickard had developed and
manufactured an earlier version of the digital calculator in 1624.) The Pascaline was a numerical
wheel calculator with eight movable dials, each representing a numerical digit, such as ones, tens
and hundreds. It was capable of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
Pascal's invention was not without its glitches: There was a discrepancy between the calculator's
design and the structure of the French currency of the time. The machines went into production
in 1642, but Pascal continued to work on improving his calculator until 1645. (Fifty prototypes
had been produced by 1652, but the Pascaline was never a big seller. It went out of production
less than a year later.)
In 1648, eight years after his first essay was published, Pascal starting writing more of his
theorems on conic sections in The Generation of Conic Sections, but he pushed the work aside
until 1654.
At the end of the 1640s, Pascal temporarily focused his experiments on the physical sciences.
Following in Evangelista Torricellis footsteps, Pascal experimented with how atmospheric
pressure could be estimated in terms of weight. By taking readings of the barometric pressure at

various altitudes, Pascal validated Torricelli's theory concerning the cause of barometrical
In the 1650s, Pascal set about trying to create a perpetual motion machine, the purpose of which
was to produce more energy than it used. In the process, he stumbled upon an accidental
invention. In 1655, Pascal's roulette machine was born. Aptly, he derived its name from the
French word for "little wheel."
Overlapping his work on the roulette machine was Pascal's correspondence with mathematical
theorist Pierre de Fermat, beginning in 1654. Through their letters discussing dice problems, and
through Pascal's own experiments, Pascal discovered that there is a fixed likelihood of any
certain outcome when it comes to the roll of the dice. This discovery was the basis of the
mathematical theory of probability, the eye-opening realization that events and their outcomes
did not occur randomly.
Although the specific dates are uncertain, Pascal also reportedly invented a rather primitive form
of the wristwatch. It was an informal invention to say the least: The mathematician was known to
strap his pocket watch to his wrist with a piece of string, presumably for the sake of convenience
while tinkering with his other inventions.
Pascal struggled with insomnia and a painful digestive disorder called dyspepsia from the time
he was a teen. Regarding his physical health, he was described as "a man of slight build with a
loud voice and somewhat overbearing manner. [H]e lived most of his adult life in great pain.
He had always been in delicate health, suffering even in his youth from migraine." Over the
years, Pascals constant work took a toll on his already fragile health.
Pascal died of a malignant stomach tumor at his sister Gilbrete's house in Paris on August 19,
1662. By then, the tumor had metastasized in his brain. He was 39 years old at the time of his
death. His complex personality has been described as "precocious, stubbornly persevering, a
perfectionist, pugnacious to the point of bullying ruthlessness yet seeking to be meek and
Pascal's inventions and discoveries have been instrumental to developments in the fields of
geometry, physics and computer science. His exploration of binomial coefficients influenced Sir
Isaac Newton, leading him to uncover his "general binomial theorem for fractional and negative
In the 1970s, the Pascal (Pa) unit was named after Blaise Pascal, in honor of his contributions to
the understanding of atmospheric pressure and how it could be estimated in terms of weight. The
Pascal is a unit of pressure that constitutes the force of a single newton acting on a square-meter
surface. It is measured using the meter-kilogram-second system, which relies on an extended
version of the metric system to calculate pressure.
In 1972, computer scientist Nicklaus Wirth invented a computer language and insisted on naming
it after Pascal. This was Wirth's way of memorializing Pascal's invention of the Pascaline, one of

the earliest forms of the modern computer. Pascal is also credited with building the foundation of
probability theory.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871) was born in Walworth, Surrey, on December 26, 1791. He was one
of four children born to the banker Benjamin Babbage and Elizabeth Teape. He attended Trinity,
Cambridge, in 1810 to study mathematics, graduated without honors from Peterhouse in 1814
and received an MA in 1817. In 1814 he married Georgiana Whitmore with whom he had eight
children, only three of whom lived to adulthood. The couple made their home in London off
Portland Place in 1815. His wife, father, and two of his children died in 1827. In 1828 Babbage
moved to 1 Dorset Street, Marylebone, which remained his home till his death in 1871. He was
elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1816 and occupied the Lucasian chair of mathematics at
Cambridge University from 1828 to 1839. He died on October 18, 1871 and was buried at
Kensal Green cemetery in London.
Gentleman of Science
Science was not an established profession, and Babbage, like many of his contemporaries, was a
'gentleman scientist' - an independently wealthy amateur well able to support his interests from
his own means. The scope of Babbage's interests was polymathically wide even by the generous
standards of the day. Between 1813 and 1868 he published six full-length works and nearly
ninety papers. He was a prolific inventor, mathematician, scientist, reforming critic of the
scientific establishment and political economist. He pioneered lighthouse signalling, invented the

ophthalmoscope, proposed 'black box' recorders for monitoring the conditions preceding railway
catastrophes, advocated decimal currency, proposed the use of tidal power once coal reserves
were exhausted, designed a cow-catcher for the front end of railway locomotives, failsafe quick
release couplings for railway carriages, multi-colored theatre lighting, an altimeter, a seismic
detector, a tugboat for winching vessels upstream, a 'hydrofoil' and an arcade game for members
of the public to challenge in a game of tic-tac-toe. His interests included lock picking, ciphers,
chess, submarine propulsion, armaments, and diving bells. Babbage was a prominent figure,
regarded as colorfully controversial and even eccentric at home in England, yet feted with honors
by Continental academies. He ached for recognition and was aggrieved at its lack grumbling that
the Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge, was the only honor bestowed on him by his
Personal Life
Babbage married Georgiana Whitmore in 1814, against his father's wishes. The marriage was a
very happy one. Tragedy struck in 1827. In the space of a year his father with whom he had had a
troubled relationship, his second son (Charles), Georgiana and a newborn son all died. Babbage
was inconsolable. Close to breakdown he went on an extended trip on the Continent. There was a
further cruel blow. His daughter, Georgiana, on whom he doted, died while still in her teens
sometime around 1834. Babbage immersed himself in work. On his father's death he inherited an
estate valued at 100,000, a sizeable fortune - somewhere between $6 and $30 million dollars in
today's terms. He never remarried.
In the 1830s Babbage was a lion of the London social scene. His Saturday soirees were sparkling
events in the London social calendar, and his house in Dorset Street was a hub of social and
intellectual life. Celebrities, civil dignitaries, authors, actors, scientists, bishops, bankers,
politicians, industrialists and socialites converged for gossip, intrigue, and the latest in science,
literature, philosophy and art. 'All were eager to go to his glorious soirees' wrote Harriet
Martineau, writer and philosopher. Babbage was also a sought-after dinner guest with a
reputation for being a captivating raconteur. 'Mr. Babbage is coming to dinner' was a coup for
any hostess.
The 'Irascible Genius'
Diplomacy was not Babbage's forte and his social and professional personas were at war. Proud
and principled, he was capable of incontinent savagery in his public attacks on the scientific
establishment, often beyond ordinary sensibility. He offended many whose support he needed
behaving sometimes as though being right entitled him to be rude. The title of the first biography
on his life was called 'Irascible Genius: A Life of Charles Babbage, Inventor'. The twin
characteristics of irascibility and genius remain the defining signatures of his historical portrait.

Adam Osborne was an entrepreneur most famously known for the first portable computer, but
also was an author who made a successful move into publishing computer books and software.
Early Life:
Adam Osborne was born in Thailand March 6, 1939 to British parents where he spent most of his
childhood in India. He attended school and graduated from the University of Birmingham in
1961 and received his PHD from the University of Delaware.
Adam's career started out as a chemical engineer working for Shell Oil and then left in the early
1970s to pursue his interests in computers and technical writing.
Osborne Computer Corporation:
In 1981 Adam introduced the first portable computer the Osborne 1. The computer weighed 23.5
pounds and cost $1,795, just over half the cost of a computer from other manufacturers with
comparable features. The computer ran the popular CP/M operating system and featured a full
keyboard and a tiny 5" built-in monochrome monitor. The company shipped over 10,000
computers a month and was considered a huge success, earning $6 million in 1981 and by the
next year into the $68 million range.
The Fall of Osborne Computer:
One version of the story says that Osborne Computers collapsed when Adam bragged to the
media about two advanced computers the corporation was working on and destroyed the
consumer demand for the Osborne 1. The result was inventory glut and the company was forced
to file bankruptcy. But later research turned up that the machine Osborne had boasted of shipped
and put the company back on track until a single executive built up massive debt trying to
complete the assembly of older inventory.
After the fall of the Osborne Computer Corporation, he wrote and published several best selling
books about his experience, including Hypergrowth: The Rise and Fall of Osborne Computer
Adam was a pioneer in the computer book industry. He founded Osborne Publishing in 1972,
specializing in easy-to-follow computer manuals. By 1977 Osborne had over 40 titles in its
catalog. In 1979 he sold his company to McGraw Hill for a rumored $3 million, using the money
to launch Osborne Computer.

Software Publishing:
In 1984 Adam founded Paperback Software International, which specialized in inexpensive
computer software. The company's ads featured Osborne himself arguing that if telephone
companies applied the same logic to their pricing as software companies, a telephone would cost
$600. Lotus Corporation sued Paperback for copyright infringement in 1987, sending consumer
and investor confidence spiraling downward. Lotus won the suit in 1990 and Osborne stepped
down from the company shortly thereafter.
In 1992 Adam returned to his home in India after suffering from several massive strokes caused
by an incurable brain disorder. He died in relative obscurity in Kodaikanal, India at age 64.

Submitted by:
Tiffany Georgina G. Semetara

July 30, 2015

For his invention of the first program-controlled, electromechanical, digital computer and the
first high-level programming language, "Plankalkul."
Konrad Zuse was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1910. In 1935, he graduated from the Technische
Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg in civil engineering.
After graduating, he went to work for the Henschel Aircraft Company, but spent his weekends
building a computer (the ZI) in his parents' living room. He completed the ZI, for which
instructions were punched on used movie film, in 1938.
Zuse worked throughout WWII on other designs, culminating in his Z3 computer, the world's
first fully operational stored-program electromechanical computer. He was able to sell one to the
German aircraft bureau, which needed it to solve aerodynamic problems. ZI-Z3 were ultimately
destroyed in an Allied bomb attack on Berlin in 1945, but Zuse persisted and completed a relaybased version, the Z4. He sold this to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zurich)-it
was at the time the only working computer in continental Europe.
Zuse's reputation grew, and he founded Zuse kg to build his machines as well as developing one
of the earliest high-level programming languages, Plankalkul.
Zuse's story is one of success over adversity, as he independently conceived and implemented the
principles of modern digital computers in complete isolation. He passed away in 1995.


Few would deny that the invention of the computer has revolutionized society or that the world
of today would look quite different without computers. In the relatively short span of time that
has elapsed since the world's first electronic digital computer was invented in 1939, computers
have become universal tools that are an integral part of modern life. Yet, comparatively few
people know that John Atanasoff, the genius who invented the first computer and initiated the
computer revolution, was of Bulgarian ancestry. John Atanasoff was a prominent American
inventor who took pride in his Bulgarian heritage and maintained strong ties to his ancestral
home of Bulgaria.
John Atanasoff's father, Ivan Atanasoff, was born in the village of Boyadjick, Bulgaria. Ivan
Atanasoff had lost his own father in 1876, when the latter was brutally killed in the April
Uprising of the Bulgarians against the Ottoman Empire. In 1889, when Ivan Atanasoff was
thirteen years old, he emmigrated to the United States accompanied by an uncle. He later married
Iva Lucena, a mathematics teacher. John Vincent Atanasoff was born in the town of Hamilton,
New York on October 4, 1903. After John's birth, the Atanasoff family moved a number of times
as Ivan Atanasoff sought better employment in several different electrical engineering positions.
They eventually settled in Brewster, Florida, where John completed grade school. The Atanasoff
home in Brewster was the first house the family had lived in that was equipped with electricity.
By age nine, John had taught himself how to repair faulty electric wiring and light fixtures on
their back-porch.
It was recognized early that John Atanasoff had both a passion and talent for mathematics. His
youthful interest in baseball was quickly forgotten once his father showed him the logarithmic

slide rule he had bought for facilitating engineering calculations. The slide rule completely
captivated the nine-year-old boy, who spent hours studying the instructions and delighting in the
fact that this mathematical tool consistently resulted in correct solutions to problems. Young
John's obsession with the slide rule soon led to a series of discoveries on the logarithmic
principles underlying slide rule operation and, subsequently, to a study of trigonometric
functions. It was not long before the gifted youth had achieved substantial progress in his math
studies. At this time John's mother introduced him to counting systems and number bases other
than base ten, including an introduction to the binary system which would prove important in his
later work.
John Atanasoff completed his high school course in two years, with excellence in both science
and mathematics. He had decided to become a theoretical physicist, and with that goal in mind,
entered the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1921. Because the university curriculum did
not offer degrees in physics, John began his undergraduate studies in the electrical engineering
program. The knowledge of electronics and higher math that John acquired as an electrical
engineering student would later prove fortuitous in helping to transform the theory of the
computer into a working reality
John Atanasoff graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1925, with a Bachelor
of Science degree in electrical engineering. He received his Master's degree in mathematics from
the Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa in 1926. After completing his graduate studies, Atanasoff
accepted a position teaching physics and mathematics at Iowa State College. He was then
accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin, and received his doctoral
degree (Ph. D.) in theoretical physics from Wisconsin in 1930. In his doctoral thesis, "The
Dielectric Constant of Helium", Atanasoff was required to do many complicated and time
consuming computations. Although he utilized the Monroe mechanical calculator, one of the best
machines of the time, to assist in his tedious computations, the shortcomings of this machine
were painfully obvious and motivated him to think about the possibility of developing a more
sophisticated calculating machine. After receiving his Ph. D. in theoretical physics in July 1930,
John returned to the staff of Iowa State College and began his work on developing a better and
faster computing machine.
In 1970 John Atanasoff was invited to Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and the
Bulgarian Government conferred to him the Cyrille and Methodius Order of Merit First Class.
This was his first public recognition, and it was awarded to him three years before similar honors
were conferred to him in the United States. The credit for this timely recognition of Atanasoff's
achievement should be given to the Bulgarian academicians, Blaghovest Sendov, Ph.D. and
Kyrille Boyannov, Ph.D., among others. During his lifetime, the highest honor and recognition
awarded to John Vincent Atanasoff, the Father of the Computer, was the National Medal of
Science and Technology, conferred to him by George H. W. Bush in 1990.


Biography of John Presper Eckert

John Adam Presper Eckert Jr. (called Pres) was born in Philadelphia on April 9, 1919, to John
Presper Eckert and Ethel Hallowell Eckert. His father was the rich real estate developer and selfmade millionaire John Eckert. Eckert Jr. was an only child and was raised in a large house in
Philadelphia's Germantown section.
But Pres was more than just a child who had been driven to the prestigious William Penn Charter
School by a chauffeur. He was a genius in his own right. As early as five-year-olds he was
sketching radios and speakers. At age twelve, he won a Philadelphia science fair with a waterfilled tub and a sailboat that he could control with a steering wheel hooked to magnets laid at the
bottom of a homemade pond. This invention was patterned after an amusement he had seen in a
park in Paris, and it was so sophisticated, that it had a rheostat, which could control electric
current to the magnets, enabling him to drop one boat and pick up another for maneuvering in the
four-by-six-foot pond. At age fourteen, he replaced a vexatious battery-powered intercom system
in one of his father's high-rise apartment buildings with an electrical system. He built radios and
phonograph amplifiers, and earned pocket money installing sound systems for schools,
nightclubs and special events. He even was hired by West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Merion to
build a music system that masked the unnerving sound of gas burners in the nearby crematorium.
In high school, he spent afternoons hanging out in the Chestnut Hill research laboratory of Philo
Taylor Farnsworth, who had demonstrated a working model of a television system in 1927. On
the math portion of the College Board examination, Pres was placed second in the country. He

wanted to go to the center of USA scientific researchMassachusetts Institute of Technology

(MIT) and was easily accepted. But his mother couldn't bear the thought of her only child
leaving home, and his father wanted him to attend business school, so they enrolled Pres at the
Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Feigning tight finances because
of the depression, they even required Pres to live at home and commute to the downtown
Bored in business classes, Pres soon tried to transfer to the physics department, but no spaces
were available. Finally he decided to transfer to Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the
University of Pennsylvania, where he enrolled in 1937.
At Moore School, Eckert distinguished himself as a bright young man but not an outstanding
student. He was a perfectionist, like his father, orderly and hard driving. But he was not very
diligent when it came to classes that bored him, and his grades suffered. Eckert made a name for
himself in other ways, as well. At one dance, he created the Osculometera machine he claimed
measured the intensity, the passion, of a kiss. Couples would grab handles wired to the
Osculometer, and an array of ten light bulbs progressively lit up when the pair kissed, completing
the electric circuit. What the engineers knewand their dates didn't, was that if you got your lips
wet enough, hands sweaty enough, and held the kiss long enough, you could get all ten bulbs to
light up. Then a loudspeaker atop the device would proclaim: "WAH! WAH! WAHHHH!".
In 1940, still only twenty-one years old, Pres applied for his first patent, which was granted two
years later (USA patent number 2283545). It was called Light Modulating Methods and
Apparatus ( see the patent ), and amounted to a motion-picture sound system. The machine was
never sold, however.
Pres persisted at Moore School, earning his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in
1941 and his master's degree in 1943. He was widely regarded as a superb engineer while at the
Moore. However, he could be stubborn, and his work habits were considered odd. He was highly
nervous and would rarely sit in a chair or stand still while thinking. Often he would crouch on
top of a desk or pace back and forth.
John Mauchly and Pres first met in 1942, when the Army asked University of Pennsylvania to
have a class of scientists to help the war effort. Eckert was the teacher in this class and Mauchly
was a student. Though they had different upbringings and were twelve years apart in age, John
Mauchly and Pres Eckert became fast friends, wired together by a shared enthusiasm for creating
devices. They had amazingly similar childhood interests. Both were fascinated by electricity and
wiring, and both had rigged up the same kind of boyhood toys and gimmicks. Eckert was a man
more interested in doing than teaching, and prescribed lab exercises bored him. Mauchly knew
exactly what he wanted to work on, and saw little value in simple experiments of a caliber he
might have assigned to his Ursinus students. Much of the lab time Eckert and Mauchly were

assigned to spend together was actually spent talking about different ideas-including computing
machines. The final result result of these talks will be the creation of the first large electronic
computer in the world ENIAC .
After the WWII and creation of ENIAC, IBM had offered Eckert a job and his own lab for
developing computers, but Mauchly talked him into jointly starting a new companyElectronic
Control Company. Their first work, in 1946 and 1947, was with the National Bureau of
Standards and the Census Bureau. They developed the specifications for a computer eventually
known as the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) in 1948. Like most start-up companies
developing complex hardware, Eckert and Mauchly ran into their share of financial problems,
consistently underestimating the development costs for their computers. To raise money, they
signed a contract in the fall of 1947 with the Northrop Aircraft Company to create a small
computer for navigating airplanesthe BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer). The BINAC
(completed in August 1949) and the UNIVAC were the first computers to employ magnetic tape
drives for data storage. Smaller in size and comprised of fewer parts than the ENIAC, both
machines had internal memories for storing programs and could be accessed by typewriter
Eckert and Mauchly had been kept from bankruptcy by the support of Henry Straus, an executive
for the American Totalisator Company, which manufactured the odds-making machines used at
race tracks. When Straus was killed in a plane crash in October 1949, Eckert and Mauchly knew
they had to sell UNIVAC. The Remington Rand Corporation acquired their company on
February 1, 1950. Eckert remained in research to develop the hardware for UNIVAC, while
Mauchly devoted his time to developing software applications. In contrast to Mauchly, Pres
succeeded in Sperry Rand, in 1959 he even became vice-president and assistant to General
Manager. The first UNIVAC, delivered to the Census Bureau in March 1951, proved its value in
the 1952 presidential election between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson, when it
accurately predicted results less than an hour after the polls closed. Eckert and Mauchly's patent
on the ENIAC was challenged during an infringement suit between Sperry-Rand (formerly
Remington), who now owned the rights to the computer, and Honeywell. On October 19, 1973,
the court invalidated the ENIAC patent and asserted that Iowa State University professor John
Vincent Atanasoff was the true inventor of the digital electronic computer.
On October 28, 1944, Eckert married to Hester Caldwell. The couple had two sons, John Presper
III and Christopher, before Hester died in 1952. Ten years later, on October 13, 1962, Eckert
married to Judith A. Rewalt and he had two more children, Laura and Gregory.
Eckert received his honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. After his
first patent in 1942, he also received 87 patents and numerous awards for his innovations,
including the Howard N. Potts and John Scott Medals (both of which he shared with Mauchly).
President Lyndon B. Johnson presented him with the National Medal of Science in 1969. Eckert

was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1967. He remained with the Remington
Rand Corporation through a number of mergers, retiring in 1989. He later served as a consultant
to UNISYS and to the Eckert Scientific International Corporation, based in Tokyo, Japan.
John Presper Eckert died on June 3, 1995 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

For his fundamental contributions to personal computing and human-computer interface
Alan Kay was born in Springfi eld, Massachusetts, in 1940. He received a B.S. in mathematics
and molecular biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder (1966) and an M.S. (1968)
and Ph.D. (1969) from the University of Utah in computer science.
Kay is best known for the idea of personal computing, the concept of the laptop computer, and
the inventions of the now ubiquitous overlapping-window interface and modern object-oriented

His deep interest in children was the catalyst for these ideas, and it continues to inspire him. Kay
was one of the founders of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), in Palo Alto,
California, where he led one of the groups that developed ideas into modern workstations (and
the forerunner of the Macintosh), the Smalltalk computer language, the overlapping-window
interface, desktop publishing, the Ethernet, laser printing, and network "client servers." His
"Dynabook" concept prefigured the modern laptop computer by several decades.

Inventor, Computer Programmer (c. 19252013)
Born on January 25, 1925, in Portland, Oregon, Douglas C. Engelbart was a pioneer in the
design of interactive computer environments who invented the computer mouse in 1964. He also
created the first two-dimensional editing system, and was the first to demonstrate the use of
mixed text-graphics and shared-screen viewing. He was director of SRI International's
Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto and founded Stanford University's Bootstrap
Project. Engelbart died in Atherton, California, on July 2, 2013, at age 88.
Early Life and Career

A pioneer in the design of interactive computer environments, Douglas Carl Engelbart was born
to Carl and Gladys Engelbart on January 25, 1925, in Portland, Oregon. He had two siblings: An
older sister, Dorianne Engelbart Vadnais (born in 1922), and a younger brother, David Engelbart
(born in 1927). After graduating from Franklin High School in Portland in 1942, Engelbart
enrolled at Oregon State College (Oregon State University) in Corvallis, where he studied
electrical engineering.
Drafted into the U.S. Army as World War II came to close, the future inventor worked as a radar
technician in the Philippines for two years before returning to Oregon State. Not long after
graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1948, Engelbart landed a position at California's Ames
Research Center, a government aerospace laboratory run by the National Advisory Committee on
Aeronautics (a precursor to NASA).
Computer Design Pioneer
Douglas C. Engelbart went on to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of
California, Berkeley, in 1955. After returning to the school for a stint as an acting assistant
professor, Engelbart began a career at the Stanford Research Institute (later renamed SRI
International). Around this same time, he began focusing on an approach that he termed
"bootstrapping," in which he asserted the fields of engineering and science would be greatly
improved if computer power were shared among researchers.
In the early 1960s, Engelbart founded SRI International's Augmentation Research Center in Palo
Alto in an effort to further research information processing and computer-sharing tools and
methods. Soon after, Engelbart designed and was the primary developer of the oN-Line System,
also known as NLS, a revolutionary computer-sharing system.
In 1964, Engelbart conceptualized and created the first design for the computer mouse. While
Engelbart believed that the point-and-click computer device could be equipped with up to 10
buttons, the first mouse would have just three. The inventor went on to create the first twodimensional editing system, and was the first to demonstrate the use of mixed text-graphics and
shared-screen viewing.
Engelbart served as director of the Augmentation Research Center from its inception until 1977.
The center was transferred to Tymshare in 1978, with NLS being renamed "Augment. In 1989,
Engelbart founded the Bootstrap Project at Stanford University.
Later Years and Legacy
Engelbart received several honors throughout his lifetime, including the Coors American
Ingenuity Award (1991), the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award (1995), the IEEE John von
Neumann Medal, the Lemelson-MIT Prize (1997), the Turing Award (1997) and the National
Medal of Technology and Innovation (2000). Unfortunately, Engelbart never received any
royalties for inventing the computer mouse, for which he's now best known.
Engelbart died of kidney failure in Atherton, California, on July 2, 2013. He was 88.

He was survived by his second wife, Karen OLeary Engelbart; daughters Gerda, Diana and
Christina; son Norman; and nine grandchildren. (His first wife, Ballard Fish Engelbart, died of
ovarian cancer in 1997.