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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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’).

Computer Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd

Tony Hoare (British computer scientist) was born on January 11, 1934

Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, commonly known as Tony Hoare or C. A. R. Hoare, is a British computer scientist best known for the development (in 1960, at age 26) of Quicksort, one of the world’s most widely used sorting algorithms. He also developed Hoare logic for verifying program correctness, and the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) to specify the interactions of concurrent processes (including the dining philosophers problem) and the inspiration for the occam programming language. Hoare’s most significant work has been in the following areas: his sorting algorithm (Quicksort), Hoare logic, the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) used to specify the interactions between concurrent processes, structuring computer operating systems using the monitor concept, and the axiomatic specification of programming languages. In 1982, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Computer Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd

Donald Knuth (computer scientist) was born on January 10, 1938

Donald Ervin Knuth is a computer scientist and Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University. Author of the seminal multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming, Knuth has been called the “father” of the analysis of algorithms, contributing to the development of, and systematizing formal mathematical techniques for, the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms, and in the process popularizing asymptotic notation. In addition to fundamental contributions in several branches of theoretical computer science, Knuth is the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, the related METAFONT font definition language and rendering system, and the Computer Modern family of typefaces. A writer and scholar, Knuth created the WEB/CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming, and designed the MMIX instruction set architecture.

Math Nerd, Science Nerd, Writer Nerd

Steven Hawking (English theoretical physicist and cosmologist) was born on January 8, 1942

Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking’s key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding gravitational singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein–Hawking radiation). Hawking has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed. He became the first quadriplegic to float free in a weightless state. This was the first time in 40 years that he moved freely beyond the confines of his wheelchair.

Science Nerd

Michael Foale (British-American astrophysicist and NASA astronaut) was born on January 6, 1957

Colin Michael Foale is a British-American astrophysicist with dual citizenship and a NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of six space shuttle missions and extended stays on both Mir and the International Space Station. He was the first Briton to perform a space walk, and until 17 April 2008, he held the record for most time spent in space by a US citizen: 374 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes. He still holds the cumulative-time-in-space record for a UK citizen. Foale joined the mission operations directorate of NASA in Houston in 1983 aged 26, working on the shuttle’s navigation system. Born with dual-UK/US citizenship, he applied and was turned down twice as an astronaut candidate. After the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986, Foale changed his application essay from writing about his dreams to focusing on the realities of leadership faced by NASA, and was selected in 1987.