Sep 21, 2009 | 25
Martin Campbell-Kelly’s September article on the origins of computing traces the history of machine computation from Charles Babbage, the 18th century British mathematician, through the 20th century. Yet according to many of our readers, we made a critical omission.
John Hauptman, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, writes:
The first person to build and operate an electronic digital computer was a physics professor, as correctly noted in your excellent article “Dr. Atanasoff’s Computer,” Scientific American, August 1988 [not online]. Atanasoff’s first computer was a 12-bit 2-word machine running at 60Hz wall-plug frequency and could add and subtract binary numbers stored in a regenerative memory using a logic unit built with seven triode tubes. This was 1937. There was no war, no Pearl Harbor, just a theoretical physicist trying to solve problems in quantum mechanics with his students at Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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