Math Nerd, Science Nerd, Writer Nerd

Freeman Dyson (theoretical physicist and mathematician) was born on December 15, 1923

Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Dyson has lived in Princeton, New Jersey, for over fifty years. In 1960 Dyson wrote a short paper for the journal Science, entitled “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation”. In it, he theorized that a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization might completely surround its native star with artificial structures in order to maximize the capture of the star’s available energy. Eventually, the civilization would completely enclose the star, intercepting electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths from visible light downwards and radiating waste heat outwards as infrared radiation. Therefore, one method of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations would be to look for large objects radiating in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dyson conceived that such structures would be clouds of asteroid-sized space habitats, though science fiction writers have preferred a solid structure: either way, such an artifact is often referred to as a Dyson sphere, although Dyson himself used the term “shell”. Dyson says that he used the term “artificial biosphere” in the article meaning a habitat, not a shape. The general concept of such an energy-transferring shell had been advanced decades earlier by author Olaf Stapledon in his 1937 novel Star Maker, a source that Dyson has reportedly credited publicly.

Movie Nerd Event, Science Fiction Nerd Event

The film Dune was released on December 14, 1984

Dune is a 1984 science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American and European actors in supporting roles. It was filmed at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City and included a soundtrack by the band Toto. As in the novel, the central plot concerns a young man foretold in prophecy as the “Kwisatz Haderach” who will protect the titular desert planet from the malevolent House Harkonnen with the aid of native Fremen. After the success of the novel, attempts to adapt Dune for a film began as early as 1971. A lengthy process of development hell followed throughout the 1970s, during which Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott all tried to bring their vision to the screen. In 1981, David Lynch was hired as director by executive producer Dino De Laurentiis.

Actor Nerd, Director Nerd, Writer Nerd

Steve Buscemi (American actor, writer and director) was born on December 13, 1957

Steven Vincent “Steve” Buscemi is an American actor, writer and director. An associate member of the renowned experimental theater company The Wooster Group, Buscemi has starred and supported in successful Hollywood and indie films, including Parting Glances, New York Stories, Mystery Train, Reservoir Dogs, Desperado, Con Air, Armageddon, The Grey Zone, Ghost World and Big Fish; and the HBO television series The Sopranos. He is also known for his appearances in many films by the Coen brothers: Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. Since 2010, he has starred in the critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe, and two nominations for an Emmy Award. He made his directorial debut in 1996, with Trees Lounge, in which he also starred. Other works include Animal Factory (2000), Lonesome Jim (2005) and Interview (2007). He has also directed numerous episodes of television shows, including; Homicide: Life on the Street, The Sopranos, Oz, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie.

Computer Nerd, Technology Nerd

Robert Noyce (nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley”) was born on December 12, 1927

Robert Norton Noyce, nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley”, co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. He is also credited (along with Jack Kilby) with the invention of the integrated circuit or microchip. While Kilby’s invention was six months earlier, neither man rejected the title of co-inventor. Noyce was also a mentor and father-figure to an entire generation of entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs at Apple, Inc. Noyce and Gordon E. Moore founded Intel in 1968 when they left Fairchild Semiconductor. Arthur Rock, the chairman of Intel’s board and a major investor in the company said that for Intel to succeed, Intel needed Noyce, Moore and Grove. And it needed them in that order. Noyce: the visionary, born to inspire; Moore: the virtuoso of technology; and Grove: the technologist turned management scientist. The relaxed culture that Noyce brought to Intel was a carry-over from his style at Fairchild Semiconductor. He treated employees as family, rewarding and encouraging team work. His follow-your-bliss management style set the tone for many Valley success stories. Noyce’s management style could be called “roll up your sleeves.” He shunned fancy corporate cars, reserved parking spaces, private jets, offices, and furnishings in favor of a less-structured, relaxed working environment in which everyone contributed and no one benefited from lavish perquisites. By declining the usual executive perks he stood as a model for future generations of Intel CEOs. At Intel, he oversaw Ted Hoff’s invention of the microprocessor—that was his second revolution.

Game Nerd

Viswanathan Anand (Indian chess Grandmaster) was born on December 11, 1969

Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess Grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. Anand has won the World Chess Championship five times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), and has been the undisputed World Champion since 2007. Anand was the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion in 2003, and is widely considered the strongest rapid player of his generation. Anand became India’s first grandmaster in 1987. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history. Anand has won the Chess Oscar six times (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov and in the World Chess Championship 2012 against Boris Gelfand. As the reigning champion, he will face the winner of the upcoming Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2013.

Comedy Nerd, Female Nerd, Writer Nerd

Ada Byron (regarded as the world’s first computer programmer) was born on December 10, 1815

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, born Augusta Ada Byron, was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. She was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron (with Anne Isabella Milbanke), but had no relationship with her father, who died when she was nine. As a young adult she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage’s work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843 she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with a set of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Though Babbage’s engine was never built, Lovelace’s notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities. Her image can be seen on the Microsoft product authenticity hologram stickers.  The British Computer Society annually awards a medal in her name.

Computer Nerd Event

NLS is publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco on December 9, 1968

NLS, or the “oN-Line System”, was a revolutionary computer collaboration system designed by Douglas Engelbart and implemented by researchers at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) during the 1960s. The NLS system was the first to employ the practical use of hypertext links, the mouse (co-invented by Engelbart and colleague Bill English), raster-scan video monitors, information organized by relevance, screen windowing, presentation programs, and other modern computing concepts. It was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. NLS was demonstrated by Engelbart on December 9, 1968 to a large audience at that year’s Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. This has since been dubbed “The Mother of All Demos”, as it not only demonstrated the groundbreaking features of NLS, but also involved assembling some remarkable state-of-the-art video technologies. Engelbart’s onstage terminal was linked to a massive video projector loaned by the NASA Ames Research Center and, via leased telephone lines, to ARC’s SDS 940 computer in Menlo Park. On a 22-foot high screen with video insets, the audience could follow Engelbart’s actions on his display, observe how he used the mouse, and watch as members of his team in Menlo Park joined in the presentation.