Science Nerd, Technology Nerd

Grote Reber (pioneer of radio astronomy) was born on December 22, 1911

Grote Reber was a pioneer of radio astronomy, which combined his interests in amateur radio and amateur astronomy. He was instrumental in investigating and extending Karl Jansky’s pioneering work, and conducted the first sky survey in the radio frequencies. His 1937 radio antenna was the second ever to be used for astronomical purposes and the first parabolic reflecting antenna to be used as a radio telescope. For nearly a decade he was the world’s only radio astronomer. In the summer of 1937, Reber decided to build his own radio telescope in his back yard in Wheaton. Reber’s radio telescope was considerably more advanced than Jansky’s, consisting of a parabolic sheet metal mirror 9 meters in diameter, focusing to a radio receiver 8 meters above the mirror. The entire assembly was mounted on a tilting stand, allowing it to be pointed in various directions, though not turned. The telescope was completed in September 1937.

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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.

Computer Nerd, Internet Nerd, Technology Nerd, Writer Nerd

Leo Laporte (American technology broadcaster, author, and entrepreneur) was born on November 29, 1956

Leo Gordon Laporte is an American technology broadcaster, author, and entrepreneur. Laporte studied Chinese history at Yale University before dropping out in his junior year to pursue his career in radio broadcasting, where his early radio names were Dave Allen and Dan Hayes. He began his association with computers with his first home PC, an Atari 400. Laporte said he purchased his first Macintosh in 1984. He operated one of the first Macintosh-only bulletin board systems, MacQueue, from 1985 to 1988. Laporte owns and operates a podcast network, TWiT.tv. It is available on iTunes and other podcast subscription services. Before the expansion to new facilities in 2011, Laporte said TWiT earns $1.5 million annually on a production cost of only $350,000. In a 2012 Reddit posting, he commented that revenue is approaching $4 million. Laporte calls his audio and video shows “netcasts,” saying “I’ve never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion … people have told me that they can’t listen to my shows because they ‘don’t own an iPod’ … I propose the word ‘netcast.’ It’s a little clearer that these are broadcasts over the Internet. It’s catchy and even kind of a pun.”

Computer Nerd, Technology Nerd

Gene Amdahl (Norwegian American computer architect and hi-tech entrepreneur) is born on November 16, 1922

Gene Myron Amdahl is a Norwegian American computer architect and hi-tech entrepreneur, chiefly known for his work on mainframe computers at IBM and later his own companies, especially Amdahl Corporation. He is perhaps best known for formulating Amdahl’s law, which states a fundamental limitation of parallel computing. Amdahl was born to immigrant parents of Norwegian and Swedish descent in Flandreau, South Dakota. After serving in the Navy during WWII he completed a degree in engineering physics at South Dakota State University in 1948. He went on to study theoretical physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and completed his doctorate there in 1952 with a thesis titled A Logical Design of an Intermediate Speed Digital Computer and creating his first computer, the WISC. He then went straight from Wisconsin to a well-paid position at IBM in June 1952.

Computer Nerd, Science Nerd, Technology Nerd

Bill Joy (co-founder of Sun Microsystems) was born on November 8, 1954

William Nelson Joy, commonly known as Bill Joy, is an American computer scientist. Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003. He is widely known for having written the essay “Why the future doesn’t need us”, where he expresses deep concerns over the development of modern technologies. He played an integral role in the early development of BSD UNIX while a graduate student at Berkeley, and he is the original author of the vi text editor. In 2000 Joy gained notoriety with the publication of his article in Wired Magazine, “Why the future doesn’t need us”, in which he declared, in what some have described as a “neo-Luddite” position, that he was convinced that growing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology would bring risks to humanity. He argued that intelligent robots would replace humanity, at the very least in intellectual and social dominance, in the relatively near future. He advocates a position of relinquishment of GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics) technologies, rather than going into an arms race between negative uses of the technology and defense against those negative uses (good nano-machines patrolling and defending against Grey Goo “bad” nano-machines). Many of his arguments have been addressed by Ray Kurzweil and by others.

Computer Nerd, Internet Nerd, Technology Nerd

Jerry Yang (co-founder of Yahoo! Inc.) was born on November 6, 1968

Jerry Yang is a Taiwanese-born American internet entrepreneur, the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc. While Yang studied in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, he co-created in April 1994 with David Filo an Internet website called “Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web” consisting of a directory of other websites. It was renamed “Yahoo!” (an exclamation). Yahoo! became very popular, and Yang and Filo realized the business potential and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. They took leaves of absence and postponed their doctoral programs indefinitely. Yahoo! started off as a web portal with a web directory providing an extensive range of products and services for online activities. It is now one of the leading internet brands and, due to partnerships with telecommunications firms, has the most trafficked network on the internet. In 1999, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.

Actor Nerd, Comedy Nerd, Technology Nerd, Writer Nerd

Dick DeBartolo (Mad Magazine’s maddest writer) was born on October 19, 1945

Dick DeBartolo is an American writer. He has most notably written for Mad. He is occasionally referred to as “Mad’s Maddest Writer,” this being a twist on Don Martin’s former status as “Mad’s Maddest Artist.” DeBartolo served as the magazine’s “Creative Consultant” from 1984 to 2009. In February 2006, Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte began producing a podcast called The Daily Giz Wiz, a short, daily discussion about technology and gadgets. Each episode features one gadget chosen by DeBartolo, except for Tuesdays, when Laporte chooses it. Many times, the gadget is not a fancy mainstream one, but a weird, odd, or extremely simple device. For the Friday’s episode, DeBartolo picks the gadget from his Gadget Warehouse, an actual storage facility in NYC he rents for keeping his old gadgets.