Science

IBM Introduces the System/360

Written by  on April 7, 2014

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

 

 

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The History of DNA

Written by  on February 28, 2013

On Saturday, Feb. 28, 1953, New York Times, in an ironically understated setting for such an ultimately world reknown and Nobel Prize winning reveal, scientists Watson and Crick announced during lunch at the English pub the Eagle, that they had discovered the secret of life. However, the necessary foundation had long been established, before the scientific work on the structural properties of the double helix brought DNA to the spotlight of the mainstream.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was discovered in the late 1860s by Friedrich Miescher. It probably comes as a surprise to most, that it was Swiss chemist Miescher who first identified the ingredients for human life. Most people associate the momentous finding with the famous American biologist and English physicist, James Watson and Francis Crick, mistakenly giving them credit for DNA’s discovery; but their contribution didn’t arrive on the scientific scene until decades later.

In 1869 Miescher discovered DNA, which he initially named nuclein. With an astute, scientifically trained eye, while attempting to investigate the chemical makeup of white blood cells , he noticed something significant. It was a unique substance that did not resemble previously examined protiens.

Miescher’s unique substance that he called nuclein received little notice over the years except by scientists studying the molecule and subsequently adding further knowledge to the initial find.

Learn more about James Watson and Francis Crick’s contribution to the DNA story

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Einstein’s God Letter

Written by  on October 9, 2012

Below is an excerpt from the letter Einstein wrote in German in the year 1954. This letter, coined the “God Letter” by a Los Angeles-based auction agency, is up for auction on Ebay with a starting bid of $3 million.

The World renown physicist wrote the letter to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind a year before his death. The letter sheds some light on the religious views he held towards the end of his 76 years of life.

“For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups … I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

Access original on Ebay

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Neil Armstrong’s Death at 82

Written by  on August 25, 2012

I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the mission of Apollo 11. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.

Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history. I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.

On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.

May he Rest in Peace

BUZZ ALDRIN

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Information Innovation in History

Written by  on August 23, 2012

“But this is not another rant against email. Email is magic. It enables abundant, free communication. Consider how far we have come in less than a century: In 1915 — the year my grandfather was born — Alexander Graham Bell picked up a telephone in New York and made the country’s first transcontinental call to San Francisco. Adjusting for inflation, the price of a 3-minute call back then was $440. Today, I video chat through my Gmail account with friends in Budapest or Tokyo — for free. Seriously, magic.” Tech Fortune

  • Four basic periods Characterized by a principal technology used to solve the input, processing, output and communication problemsof the time:

    1. Premechanical,
    2. Mechanical,
    3. Electromechanical, and
    4. Electronic

A. The Premechanical Age: 3000 B.C. – 1450 A.D.

  1. Writing and Alphabets–communication.
    1. First humans communicated only through speaking and picture drawings.
    2. 3000 B.C., the Sumerians in Mesopotamia (what is today southern Iraq) devised cuniform
    3. Around 2000 B.C., Phoenicians created symbols
    4. The Greeks later adopted the Phoenician alphabet and added vowels; the Romans gave the letters Latin names to create the alphabet we use today.
  2. Paper and Pens–input technologies.
    1. Sumerians’ input technology was a stylus that could scratch marks in wet clay.
    2. About 2600 B.C., the Egyptians write on the papyrus plant
    3. around 100 A.D., the Chinese made paper from rags, on which modern-day papermaking is based.
  3. Books and Libraries: Permanent Storage Devices.
    1. Religious leaders in Mesopotamia kept the earliest “books”
    2. The Egyptians kept scrolls
    3. Around 600 B.C., the Greeks began to fold sheets of papyrus vertically into leaves and bind them together.
  4. The First Numbering Systems.
    1. Egyptian system:
      • The numbers 1-9 as vertical lines, the number 10 as a U or circle, the number 100 as a coiled rope, and the number 1,000 as a lotus blossom.
    2. The first numbering systems similar to those in use today were invented between 100 and 200 A.D. by Hindus in India who created a nine-digit numbering system.
    3. Around 875 A.D., the concept of zero was developed.
  5. The First Calculators: The Abacus. One of the very first information processors.

B. The Mechanical Age: 1450 – 1840

  1. The First Information Explosion.
    1. Johann Gutenberg (Mainz, Germany)
      • Invented the movable metal-type printing process in 1450.
    2. The development of book indexes and the widespread use of page numbers.
  2. The first general purpose “computers”
    • Actually people who held the job title “computer: one who works with numbers.”
  3. Slide Rules, the Pascaline and Leibniz’s Machine.
    • Slide Rule. Early 1600s, William Oughtred, an English clergyman, invented the slide rule
      • Early example of an analog computer.
    • The Pascaline.Invented by Blaise Pascal (1623-62). The Pascaline (front) (rear view) Diagram of interior
      • One of the first mechanical computing machines, around 1642.
    • Leibniz’s Machine. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), German mathematician and philosopher. The Reckoner (reconstruction)
  4. Babbage’s EnginesCharles Babbage (1792-1871), eccentric English mathematician
    • The Difference Engine.
      • Working model created in 1822.
      • The “method of differences”.
    • The Analytical Engine.Joseph Marie Jacquard’s loom.
      • Designed during the 1830s
      • Parts remarkably similar to modern-day computers.
        • The “store”
        • The “mill”
        • Punch cards.
      • Punch card idea picked up by Babbage from Joseph Marie Jacquard’s (1752-1834)loom.
        • Introduced in 1801.
        • Binary logic
        • Fixed program that would operate in real time.
    • Augusta Ada Byron (1815-52).
    • The first programmer

C. The Electromechanical Age: 1840 – 1940.

The discovery of ways to harness electricity was the key advance made during this period. Knowledge and information could now be converted into electrical impulses.

  1. The Beginnings of Telecommunication.
    1. Voltaic Battery.
      • Late 18th century.
    2. Telegraph.
      • Early 1800s.
    3. Morse Code.
      • Developed in1835 by Samuel Morse
      • Dots and dashes.
    4. Telephone and Radio.
      • Alexander Graham Bell.
      • 1876
    5. Followed by the discovery that electrical waves travel through space and can produce an effect far from the point at which they originated.
    6. These two events led to the invention of the radio
      • Guglielmo Marconi
      • 1894
  2. Electromechanical Computing
    1. Herman Hollerith and IBM.Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) in 1880. Census Machine. Early punch cards. Punch card workers.
      • By 1890
      • The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
        • Its first logo
    2. Mark 1.Paper tape stored data and program instructions.
      • Howard Aiken, a Ph.D. student at Harvard University
      • Built the Mark I
        • Completed January 1942
        • 8 feet tall, 51 feet long, 2 feet thick, weighed 5 tons, used about 750,000 parts

D. The Electronic Age: 1940 – Present.

  1. First Tries.
    • Early 1940s
    • Electronic vacuum tubes.
  2. Eckert and Mauchly.
    1. The First High-Speed, General-Purpose Computer Using Vacuum Tubes: Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC)The ENIAC team (Feb 14, 1946). Left to right: J. Presper Eckert, Jr.; John Grist Brainerd; Sam Feltman; Herman H. Goldstine; John W. Mauchly; Harold Pender; Major General G. L. Barnes; Colonel Paul N. Gillon. Rear view (note vacuum tubes).
      • Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC)
        • 1946.
        • Used vacuum tubes (not mechanical devices) to do its calculations.
          • Hence, first electronic computer.
        • Developers John Mauchly, a physicist, and J. Prosper Eckert, an electrical engineer
          • The Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania
        • Funded by the U.S. Army.
        • But it could not store its programs (its set of instructions)
        • Read More Here

 

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The Inventor of the Telephone

Written by  on August 23, 2012

1870

May 28 Older brother Melville Bell dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25. July-August Alexander Graham Bell, his parents, and his sister-in-law, Carrie Bell, emigrate to Canada and settle in Brantford, Ontario.

1871

AprilMoving to Boston, Alexander Graham Bell begins teaching at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.

1872

March-June Alexander Graham Bell teaches at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Boston and at the American Asylum for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. April 8 Alexander Graham Bell meets Boston attorney Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who will become one of his financial backers and his father-in-law. Fall Alexander Graham Bell opens his School of Vocal Physiology in Boston and starts experimenting with the multiple telegraph. Brochure for Bell’s School of Vocal Physiology

1873

Boston University appoints Bell Professor of Vocal Physiology and Elocution at its School of Oratory. Mabel Hubbard, his future wife, becomes one of his private pupils.

1874

Spring Alexander Graham Bell conducts acoustics experiments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and Clarence Blake, a Boston ear specialist, begin experimenting with the mechanics of the human ear and the phonautograph, a device that could translate sound vibrations into visible tracings. Summer In Brantford, Ontario, Bell first conceives of the idea for the telephone. (Bell’s original sketch of the telephone) Bell meets Thomas Watson, a young electrician who would become his assistant, at Charles Williams’s electrician shop in Boston.

1875

January Watson begins working with Bell more regularly. February Thomas Sanders, a wealthy leather merchant whose deaf son studied with Bell, and Gardiner Greene Hubbard enter into a formal partnership with Bell in which they provide financial backing for his inventions. March 1-2 Alexander Graham Bell visits noted scientist Joseph Henry at the Smithsonian Institution and explains to him his idea for the telephone. Henry recognizes the significance of Bell’s work and offers him encouragement. November 25Mabel Hubbard and Bell become engaged to be married.

1876

February 14 Bell’s telephone patent application is filed at the United States Patent Office; Elisha Gray’s attorney files a caveat for a telephone just a few hours later. March 7 United States Patent No. 174,465 is officially issued for Bell’s telephone. March 10 Intelligible human speech is heard over the telephone for the first time when Bell calls to Watson, “Mr. Watson.Come here. I want to see you.” June 25Bell demonstrates the telephone for Sir William Thomson (Baron Kelvin) and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

1877

July 9 Bell, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Thomas Sanders, and Thomas Watson form the Bell Telephone Company. July 11 Mabel Hubbard and Bell are married. August 4Bell and his wife leave for England and remain there for a year.

1878

January 14 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone for Queen Victoria. May 8 Elsie May Bell, a daughter, is born. September 12Patent litigation involving the Bell Telephone Company against Western Union Telegraph Company and Elisha Gray begins.

1879

February-March The Bell Telephone Company merges with the New England Telephone Company to become the National Bell Telephone Company. November 10 Western Union and the National Bell Telephone Company reach a settlement.

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