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Ivan Sutherland – Well, I Didn’t Know it was Hard

Ivan Sutherland – Well, I Didn’t Know it was Hard

On May 16, 1938, American computer scientist and internet pioneer Ivan Sutherland was born.  Sutherland has received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988 for his invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become ubiquitous in personal computers today. Sketchpad could accept constraints and specified relationships among segments and arcs, including the diameter of arcs. It could draw both horizontal and vertical lines and…
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The Assassination of a President

The Assassination of a President

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close, well known stage actor and Confederate spy John Wilkes Booth shot United States President Abraham Lincoln in the Presidential booth of the Ford’s theatre in Washington, D.C. And Lincoln should not be the last US president to be assassinated. He was followed by James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy, and if we also take attempts…
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Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

On April 3, 1789, American Naval officer and explorer Charles Wilkes was born. Wilkes led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, on which he determined that Antarctica (which Wilkes so named) is a continent. He also commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War (1861–1865), where he attacked a Royal Mail Ship, almost leading to war between the US and the UK. Charles Wilkes was born in New…
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Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

On February 21, 1947, American scientist and inventor Edwin Land introduced the very first instant camera together with an associated film. Land‘s new camera would allow people to produce a black and white photograph in about sixty seconds. The new film already contained the necessary chemicals to develop and fix the image directly on the photographic paper. Edwin Land studied chemistry at Harvard University but dropped out in his freshman year, leaving…
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Christopher Latham Sholes invented the QWERTY Typewriter

Christopher Latham Sholes invented the QWERTY Typewriter

On February 14, 1819,  American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes was born, who invented the first practical typewriter and is responsible for the  QWERTY keyboard layout still in use today. Christopher Latham Sholes began working as an apprentice to a printer in his teenage years and later became a newspaper publisher and politician. He started a partnership Samuel W. Soule, Charles F. Kleinstuber, and Carlos Glidden to develop a printing device, focusing on numbers…
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Joseph Weizenbaum and his famous Eliza

Joseph Weizenbaum and his famous Eliza

Joseph Weizenbaum (1923-2008) photo: Ulrich Hansen On January 8, 1923, computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum, a pioneer in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, who later became one of artificial intelligence’s leading critics, was born. In 1966 he published a simple program named Eliza, which involved its users in a conversation that bore a striking resemblance to one with a psychologist. Joseph Weizenbaum was born in Berlin the son of master furrier Jechiel Weizenbaum…
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Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) © U.S Library of Congress On January 2, 1920, the Russian-born author and professor of biochemistry Isaac Asimov was born. He was best known for his science fiction works in which he coined the term ‘robotics‘ and his popular science books. 1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the orders…
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George W. Fuller and the Purification of Water

George W. Fuller and the Purification of Water

On December 21, 1868, American sanitary engineer George Warren Fuller was born. Fuller was also trained in bacteriology and chemistry. His career extended from 1890 to 1934 and he was responsible for important innovations in water and wastewater treatment. He designed and built the first modern water filtration plant, and he designed and built the first chlorination system that disinfected a U.S. drinking water supply. George W. Fuller was born in Franklin,…
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Walter Dorwin Teague and U.S. Industrial Design

Walter Dorwin Teague and U.S. Industrial Design

On December 18, 1883, American industrial designer, architect, illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and entrepreneur Walter Dorwin Teague was born. Often referred to as the “Dean of Industrial Design”, Teague pioneered in the establishment of industrial design as a profession in the US. Regarded as a classicist and a traditionalist despite a later shift to modern tastes, Teague is recognized as a critical figure in the spread of mid-century modernism in America. He…
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Economist Henry James Carey

Economist Henry James Carey

On December 15, 1793, 19th-century economist of the American School of capitalism Henry Charles Carey was born. Carey was chief economic adviser to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Henry James Carey succeeded his father Mathew Carey, who was an influential economist, political reformer, editor, and publisher, in his publishing company. In 1835 he co-founded the Franklin Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia. While publishing his 4-volume treatise Principles of Political Economy, Carey retired from…
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