Inventor Nerd, Science Nerd

Ray Dolby (Inventor of Dolby Noise Reduction) was born on January 18, 1933

Ray Dolby is an American engineer and inventor of the noise reduction system known as Dolby NR. He was also a co-inventor of video tape recording while at Ampex. He is the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He is also a billionaire and a member of the Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion in 2008 although as of September 2012 it was estimated to have declined to $2.4 billion. As a teenager, in the decade following World War II, Dolby held part-time and summer jobs at Ampex in Redwood City, working with their first audio tape recorder in 1949. While at San Jose State University and later at Stanford University (interrupted by two years of Army service), he worked on early prototypes of video tape recorder technologies for Alexander M. Poniatoff and Charlie Ginsburg. As a non degree-holding “consultant”, Dolby played a key role in the effort that led Ampex to announce quadruplex videotape in April 1956. In 1957, Dolby received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford. He subsequently won a Marshall Scholarship for a Ph.D. (1961) in physics from Cambridge University, where he was a Research Fellow at Pembroke College. After Cambridge, Dolby acted as a technical advisor to the United Nations in India, until 1965, when he returned to England, where he founded Dolby Laboratories. In that same year, 1965, he officially invented the Dolby Sound System, although his first U.S. patent was not filed until 1969, four years later.

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Comedy Nerd, Internet Nerd, Writer Nerd

Brian Brushwood (American magician, podcaster, author, and comedian) was born on January 17, 1975

Brian Brushwood is an award-winning American magician, podcaster, author and comedian. A regular on the college circuit, he is best known for his display of bizarre magic and fire-eating performances. He is the author of The Professional’s Guide To Fire Eating and the host of Revision3’s Scam School, a web series that features quick ten minute tips to get free drinks at bars and to impress friends, and TWiT.tv’s NSFWShow, a comedic podcast he co-hosts with Justin Robert Young. Brushwood has performed on The Food Network, CNN and The Tonight Show, as well as performing special demonstrations at The University of Texas. Brushwood was also interviewed on episode 205 of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Brushwood grew up living in California, Colorado, Norway, and Texas. In 1993, he started at the University of Texas in Austin doubly majoring in “Plan II honors program” and history. He performed a magic show as a “creative writing” senior thesis. He began touring with the “Bizarre Magic Show” full-time in 2000. Brushwood also works as a writer and makes appearances on the lecture circuit. Brushwood categorizes himself as a libertarian.

Director Nerd, Science Fiction Nerd, Writer Nerd

John Carpenter (film director and screenwriter) was born on January 16, 1948

John Howard Carpenter is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres in his four-decade career, his name is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction. Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, the son of Milton Jean (née Carter) and Howard Ralph Carpenter, a music professor. He and his family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1953. He was captivated by movies from an early age, particularly the westerns of Howard Hawks and John Ford, as well as 1950s low budget horror and science fiction films, such as Forbidden Planet and The Thing from Another World and began filming horror shorts on 8 mm film even before entering high school. He attended Western Kentucky University where his father chaired the music department, then transferred to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1968, but later dropped out to make his first feature.

Internet Nerd Event

Wikipedia goes online on January 15, 2001

Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 24 million articles, over 4.1 million in the English Wikipedia alone, have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site, and it has about 100,000 active contributors. As of January 2013, there are editions of Wikipedia in 285 languages. It has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, ranking sixth globally among all websites on Alexa and having an estimated 365 million readers worldwide. In 2011, Wikipedia received an estimated 2.7 billion monthly pageviews from the United States alone. Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Sanger coined the name Wikipedia, which is a portmanteau of wiki (a type of collaborative website, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s departure from the expert-driven style of encyclopedia building and the presence of a large body of unacademic content have received extensive attention in print media. In 2006, Time magazine recognized Wikipedia’s participation in the rapid growth of online collaboration and interaction by millions of people around the world, in addition to YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. Wikipedia has also been praised as a news source due to articles related to breaking news often being rapidly updated.

Female Nerd, Science Nerd

Shannon Matilda (astronaut and biochemist) was born on January 14, 1943

Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid is an American biochemist and a NASA astronaut. At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman. She has flown in space five times including a prolonged mission aboard the Mir space station. Lucid was selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1978. Of the six women in this first class with female astronauts, Lucid was the only one who was a mother at the time of being hired. Lucid is best known for her fifth spaceflight, when she spent 188 days in space, from March 22 to September 26, 1996, including 179 days aboard Mir, the Russian space station. Both to and from Mir, she travelled on Space Shuttle Atlantis, launching on STS-76 and returning on STS-79. Her stay on Mir was not expected to last so long but her return was delayed twice, extending her stay by about six weeks. During the mission she performed numerous life science and physical science experiments. As a result of her time aboard Mir, she held the record for the most hours in orbit by a non-Russian and most hours in orbit by a woman.

Aviation Nerd, Science Nerd

Rakesh Sharma (first Indian to travel in space) was born on January 13, 1949

Wing commander Rakesh Sharma is a former Indian Air Force test pilot, and Cosmonaut aboard Soyuz T-11 as part of an Intercosmos Research Team. Sharma was the first Indian to travel in space. Sharma joined the Indian Air Force and progressed rapidly through the ranks. Sharma, then a Squadron Leader and pilot with the Indian Air Force embarked on a historic mission in 1984 as part of a joint space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program, and spent eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station. Launched along with two Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz T-11 on the 3 April 1984, was 35-year-old Sharma. During the flight, Sharma conducted multi-spectral photography of northern India in anticipation of the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Himalayas. In a famous conversation, he was asked by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi how India looked from space, to which he replied, ”Main binaa jhijhak ke keh sakta hoon.., Sare Jahan Se Achcha” (a reference to an iconic poem used in India’s freedom struggle, usually referred to as ‘Saare jahaan se achha Hindustan haamara, ‘ our land of Hindustan, is the Best in the world’).

Animation Nerd, Artist Nerd, Director Nerd

John Lasseter (American animator, director, and the CCO at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) was born on January 12, 1957

John Alan Lasseter is an American animator, director and the chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is also currently the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering. Lasseter’s first job was with joined The Walt Disney Company, where he became an animator. Next, he joined Lucasfilm, where he worked on the then-groundbreaking use of CGI animation. After Lucasfilm became Pixar in 1986, Lasseter oversaw all of Pixar’s films and associated projects as executive producer and he directed Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, and Cars. He has won two Academy Awards, for Animated Short Film (Tin Toy), as well as a Special Achievement Award (Toy Story). Lasseter is a close friend and admirer of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, and has been executive producer on several of Miyazaki’s films for their release in the United States, also overseeing the dubbing of the films for their English language soundtrack.