Kodak Founder George Eastman

September 4, 2015 · Posted in American Business, Firsts in History · Comments Off on Kodak Founder George Eastman 
eastmancamers

© Provided by Time Article George Eastman ordered six sample cameras

George Eastman was not the inventor of the camera. His genius was in making the less than ideal camera that he first worked with as a bank employee at the age of 24 in  1878 better. Its awkward size was like a “soap box“.  He made it smaller and introduced a compact rolled film with gelatin on a strip of paper. He innovated a new camera named the Kodak (1888).

Source

IBM’s Launch of Personal Computer Model 5150

August 12, 2015 · Posted in American Business, Firsts in History · Comments Off on IBM’s Launch of Personal Computer Model 5150 

Researching the history of the personal computer reveals how far along we have come, since IBM launched its first personal computer, model 5150, on August 12, 1981. It was an extravagant affair held at the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The New York Times’ article in August of 1981, NEXT, A COMPUTER ON EVERY DESK, boasted of a “second generation of machines” with the ability to, “…use microprocessors capable of handling 16 ”bits,” or units of information, at the same time, twice the processing power of existing 8-bit machines. ”

At 21 pounds and costing $1,565 the 5150 was a great success having much to do with a big advertising push that moved the IBM PC forward and into the limelight. 30 years later the size and cost seems laughable, but back then before we knew what the future would hold it was an amazing technological feat.

 

 

History of the Personal Computer

January 25, 2015 · Posted in Firsts in History · Comments Off on History of the Personal Computer 

Alan Kay considers the LINC (1962) the first Personal Computer.

LINC-computer

But most people think of Gates and Jobs when associations are made to the personal computer. This association is well deserved. Gates and Jobs developed major innovations that literally put the PC on the everyday person’s desk and made it mobile from there.

Bill Gates had the goal to put the personal computer into every home. It was at the young age of 13 that Gates began programming in Basic. Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal The computer programming language acronym BASIC stands for “Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code” The combination of Gates and BASIC started a technological revolution that is still playing out decades later.

Running parallel to Gates on the personal computer timeline and having at least an equal role in the PC revolution was Steve Jobs. Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple I board at the Homebrew Computer Club in March of 1976 and the rest as they say is History.

IBM Introduces the System/360

April 7, 2014 · Posted in Firsts in History, Science, This Day in History · Comments Off on IBM Introduces the System/360 

May the computers unite and with that revolutionary concept the IBM System/360 was born. Before the uniting of computers into a network of systems, each was its own creation uniquely customized for each of IBM’s clients.

It has been 50 years since the 360 mainframe was introduced in 1964. It boasted the first mainframe computers that IBM customers could optimize from a lower cost model to something upgraded in power. ABC News

 

 

Never Give Up

September 2, 2013 · Posted in Firsts in History, Sports · Comments Off on Never Give Up 

Diana Nyad, a long distance swimmer, finally succeeded on her fifth try at attaining her arduous swimming goal today, Monday, September 2, 2013, at the age of 64.  She swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Although the area is shark infested, she did not use the protection of a shark cage.

Let her be an example to us all in the principle of never giving up.

Read More at NBC News

 

Earliest Evidence of Pythagoras’ Theorem

October 24, 2012 · Posted in Firsts in History, Math · Comments Off on Earliest Evidence of Pythagoras’ Theorem 

To answer the question of what is the first evidenced knowledge of the familiar equation, a^2 + b^2 = c^2, named after the Greek philosopher Pythagoras (569-500 B.C.E.), depends on who you ask.

Credit for this geometrical proof has been attributed to, of course, namesake Pythagoras, but also to the ancient Babylonians via the tablet Plimpton 322, the ancient Chinese from the Zhou Bi Suan Jing (c. 100 B.C.E.- c. 100 C.E.), the Indian mathematician Bhaskara, and to Euclid who included a variation in his text The Elements.

Though the jury may be out on the rightful owner of being the first, it is evident that the ancients understood the theorem before Pythagoras got around to writing his proof.

The Chinese mathematics text,

 

chinise_proof

Visual proof of Pythagoras Theorem from Chinise Math text called Zhou Bi Suan Jing

 

The Zhou Bi Suan Jing (周髀算经) is a book called The Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon and the Circular Paths of Heaven. It is one of the oldest of Chinese mathmatical texts.

Compilation of the contents took place first in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BCE—256 BCE), and continued into the Western Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE). Its contents include 246 problems, along with the corresponding answers and arithmetic algorithms. Found within this collection is a recorded proof of the Pythagorean Theorem.

chinese proof

Another example is found in the Plimpton 322. The Babylonian tablet was written sometime around 1800 BCE in ancient Iraq (also called Mesopotamia). It is housed at Columbia and has a table consisting of fifteen columns of Pythagorean triples. Triples are a set of three positive integers a, b and c, where a2 = b2 + c2

plimpton_322

The Babylonian Tablet showing the pythagorean theorem

 

Sources: Zhou Bi Suan Jing , http://www.maa.org/news/monthly105-120.pdf

 

 

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