The Man Who Invented the Computer - The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer-logo

The Man Who Invented the Computer - The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer

Jane Smiley

From one of our most acclaimed novelists, a David-and-Goliath biography for the digital age. One night in the late 1930s, in a bar on the Illinois-Iowa border, John Vincent Atanasoff, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab, hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches, com­bined with an array of capacitors on a moving drum to serve as memory, could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists easier. Then he went back and built the machine. It worked. The whole world changed. Why don't we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann? Because he never patented the device, and because the developers of the far-better-known ENIAC almost certainly stole critical ideas from him. But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid, opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution. Jane Smiley tells the quintessentially American story of the child of immigrants John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive, making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real-life techno-thriller. From the Hardcover edition.

From one of our most acclaimed novelists, a David-and-Goliath biography for the digital age. One night in the late 1930s, in a bar on the Illinois-Iowa border, John Vincent Atanasoff, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab, hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches, com­bined with an array of capacitors on a moving drum to serve as memory, could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists easier. Then he went back and built the machine. It worked. The whole world changed. Why don't we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann? Because he never patented the device, and because the developers of the far-better-known ENIAC almost certainly stole critical ideas from him. But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid, opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution. Jane Smiley tells the quintessentially American story of the child of immigrants John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive, making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real-life techno-thriller. From the Hardcover edition.
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Description:

From one of our most acclaimed novelists, a David-and-Goliath biography for the digital age. One night in the late 1930s, in a bar on the Illinois-Iowa border, John Vincent Atanasoff, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab, hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches, com­bined with an array of capacitors on a moving drum to serve as memory, could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists easier. Then he went back and built the machine. It worked. The whole world changed. Why don't we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann? Because he never patented the device, and because the developers of the far-better-known ENIAC almost certainly stole critical ideas from him. But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid, opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution. Jane Smiley tells the quintessentially American story of the child of immigrants John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive, making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real-life techno-thriller. From the Hardcover edition.

Language:

English

Narrators:

Kathe Mazur

Length:

8h 16m


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

00:14


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

07:14


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

06:22


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

07:22


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

07:29


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

06:57


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

07:51


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

09:03


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

07:50


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

06:46


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

07:01


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

04:35


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

05:20


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

07:47


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

07:25


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

07:33


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

07:24


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

09:01


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

07:57


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

08:49


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

08:05


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

09:28


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

07:00


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

07:36


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

07:17


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

07:17


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

07:10


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

07:35


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

04:15


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

07:32


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

07:57


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

08:06


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

07:36


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

07:27


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

07:47


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

06:28


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

07:21


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

07:28


Chapter 39
Chapter 39

05:41


Chapter 40
Chapter 40

07:30


Chapter 41
Chapter 41

07:27


Chapter 42
Chapter 42

08:09


Chapter 43
Chapter 43

05:07


Chapter 44
Chapter 44

04:59


Chapter 45
Chapter 45

07:07


Chapter 46
Chapter 46

07:39


Chapter 47
Chapter 47

07:26


Chapter 48
Chapter 48

05:51


Chapter 49
Chapter 49

07:12


Chapter 50
Chapter 50

08:55


Chapter 51
Chapter 51

07:46


Chapter 52
Chapter 52

05:57


Chapter 53
Chapter 53

07:13


Chapter 54
Chapter 54

08:06


Chapter 55
Chapter 55

07:10


Chapter 56
Chapter 56

07:37


Chapter 57
Chapter 57

07:48


Chapter 58
Chapter 58

09:04


Chapter 59
Chapter 59

03:15


Chapter 60
Chapter 60

08:03


Chapter 61
Chapter 61

08:11


Chapter 62
Chapter 62

07:48


Chapter 63
Chapter 63

07:27


Chapter 64
Chapter 64

07:21


Chapter 65
Chapter 65

08:04


Chapter 66
Chapter 66

05:52


Chapter 67
Chapter 67

07:18


Chapter 68
Chapter 68

07:08


Chapter 69
Chapter 69

08:44


Chapter 70
Chapter 70

00:34