Director Nerd, Writer Nerd

Cameron Crowe (American film director, producer, and screenwriter) was born on July 13, 1957

Cameron Bruce Crowe is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Before moving into the film industry, Crowe was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, for which he still frequently writes. Crowe has made his mark with character-driven, personal films that have been generally hailed as refreshingly original and devoid of cynicism. Michael Walker in The New York Times called Crowe “something of a cinematic spokesman for the post-baby boom generation” because his first few films focused on that specific age group, first as high schoolers and then as young adults making their way in the world. Crowe’s debut screenwriting effort, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, grew out of a book he wrote while posing for one year undercover as a student at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California, where he met Geraldine Edwards, who was a student there while he was visiting mutual friends in 1975. He later based part of his Penny Lane character on her in Almost Famous after discovering that she had been going backstage to Rock and Roll concerts. Later, he wrote and directed one more high school saga, Say Anything, and then Singles, a story of Seattle twentysomethings that was woven together by a soundtrack centering on that city’s burgeoning grunge music scene. Crowe landed his biggest hit, though, with Jerry Maguire. After this, he was given a green light to go ahead with a pet project, the autobiographical effort Almost Famous. Centering on a teenage music journalist on tour with an up-and-coming band, it gave insight to his life as a 15-year-old writer for Rolling Stone. Part of the dialogue was inspired by comments that were made by Bebe Buell in certain interviews. Also in late 1999, Crowe released his second book, Conversations with Billy Wilder, a question and answer session with the legendary director.

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Technology Nerd

Ben Burtt (sound designer) was born on July 12, 1948

Benjamin “Ben” Burtt, Jr. is an American sound designer for the films Star Wars (1977), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and WALL-E (2008). He is also a film editor and director, screenwriter, and voice actor. He is most notable for creating many of the iconic sound effects heard in the Star Wars film franchise, including the “voice” of R2-D2, the lightsaber hum and the heavy-breathing sound of Darth Vader. Burtt was born in Jamesville, New York, and graduated with a major in physics from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1970, he won the National Student Film Festival with a war film Yankee Squadron, reputedly after following exposure to classic aviation drama through making an amateur film at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, a living aviation museum in Red Hook, New York, under guidance from its founder, Cole Palen. For his work on the special-effects film Genesis, Burtt won a scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, where he earned a master’s degree in film production.

Game Nerd Event

The first game of the World Chess Championship (between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky) began on July 11, 1972

The World Chess Championship 1972 was a match between challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union for the World Chess Championship. The match took place in the Laugardalshöll arena in Reykjavík, Iceland and has been dubbed the Match of the Century. Fischer became the first American to be the official World Champion since Steinitz, the first Champion, became a naturalized American citizen in 1888. Fischer’s win also ended 24 years of Soviet domination of the World Championship. The first game started on July 11, 1972. The last game began on August 31 and was adjourned after 40 moves. Spassky resigned the next day without resuming play. Fischer won the match 12½-8½, becoming the eleventh official World Champion.

Computer Nerd, Internet Nerd

Marc Andreessen (American entrepreneur, software engineer, and co-author of Mosaic) was born on July 10, 1971

Marc Lowell Andreesen is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social-networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay, and HP, among others. Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences. He is one of only six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the first international conference on the World Wide Web in 1994. Andreessen was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, the son of Patricia and Lowell Andreessen, who worked for a seed company. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, he interned one summer at IBM in Austin, Texas, United States. He also worked at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web. Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work on a wide range of computers. The resulting code was the Mosaic web browser.

Movie Nerd Event

Tron was released in the United States on July 9, 1982

Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It stars Jeff Bridges in a dual role as the protagonist Kevin Flynn and one of his programs, “Clu” (who would reappear 28 years later as the main antagonist in Tron: Legacy); Bruce Boxleitner in a dual role as security program Tron and Tron’s “User”, computer programmer Alan Bradley; Cindy Morgan in a dual role as program Yori and her “User”, Dr. Lora Baines; the late Barnard Hughes in a dual role as the tower guardian Dumont and his “User”, Dr. Walter Gibbs; Tony Stefano in a dual role as Ed Dillinger’s secretary Peter and Sark’s otherwise-nameless Lieutenant; and Dan Shor as Ram. David Warner plays all three main antagonists: the program Sark, his “User”, Ed Dillinger, and the voice of the artificially intelligent Master Control Program. The movie also features cameo roles by Jackson Bostwick of Shazam! fame (as a guard program) and a pre-American Ninja Michael Dudikoff (who makes his acting debut as a video game-conscript).

Math Nerd

Henri Cartan (French mathematician) was born on July 8, 1904

Henri Paul Cartan was a French mathematician with substantial contributions in algebraic topology. He was the son of the French mathematician Élie Cartan. Cartan studied at the Lycée Hoche in Versailles, then at the ENS, receiving his doctorate in mathematics. He taught at the University of Strasbourg from November 1931 until the outbreak of the Second World War, after which he held academic positions at a number of other French universities, spending the bulk of his working life in Paris. Cartan is known for work in algebraic topology, in particular on cohomology operations, the method of “killing homotopy groups”, and group cohomology. His seminar in Paris in the years after 1945 covered ground on several complex variables, sheaf theory, spectral sequences and homological algebra, in a way that deeply influenced Jean-Pierre Serre, Armand Borel, Alexander Grothendieck and Frank Adams, amongst others of the leading lights of the younger generation. The number of his official students was small, but includes Adrien Douady, Roger Godement, Max Karoubi, Jean-Louis Koszul, Jean-Pierre Serre and René Thom.

Science Fiction Nerd, Writer Nerd

Robert Heinlein (Science fiction writer) was born on July 7, 1907

Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called “the dean of science fiction writers”, he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre’s standards of literary quality. He was one of the first writers to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, in the late 1940s, with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. For many years, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the “Big Three” of science fiction. Heinlein was a notable writer of science-fiction short stories, and he was one of a group of writers who were groomed in their writing by John W. Campbell, Jr. the editor of Astounding magazine—though Heinlein himself denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree. Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly integrated recognizable social themes: The importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love, explored various unorthodox family structures, and speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His iconoclastic approach to these themes led to wildly divergent perceptions of his works and attempts to place mutually contradictory labels on his work. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of a pied piper of the sexual revolution, and of the counterculture, and through this book he was credited[who?] with popularizing the notion of polyamory. Heinlein won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, three of his works were awarded “Retro Hugos”—awards given retrospectively for years in which Hugo Awards had not been awarded. He also won the first Grand Master Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for his lifetime achievement. In his fiction, Heinlein coined words that have become part of the English language, including “grok” and “waldo”, and popularized the term “TANSTAAFL”.