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John von Neumann (Part 2)


John Mauchly
John Wheeler Scientist
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But the route to a practical computer is often associated with another individual, John Mauchly. He was a fellow graduate student of mine at Johns Hopkins. He was one of the few who was married, and I can remember his telling me that if you dropped a penny into a pot, every time you have relations with your wife, for the first year, and then from then on you took a penny out, there would still be pennies left in the pot at the time you died. Well, John Mauchly, like all of us at that time of the Depression, had a tough time getting a job. He got a teaching job at a small college in the outskirts of Philadelphia, Ursinus College, and that's where he developed his ideas for a computer, which became known as the Maniac -- no, the Eniac. The Eniac. And later was the foundation for the Remington Rand Company position in the computer business.

John Wheeler, one of the world's most influential physicists, is best known for coining the term 'black holes', for his seminal contributions to the theories of quantum gravity and nuclear fission, as well as for his mind-stretching theories and writings on time, space and gravity.

Listeners: Ken Ford

Ken Ford took his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1953 and worked with Wheeler on a number of research projects, including research for the Hydrogen bomb. He was Professor of Physics at the University of California and Director of the American Institute of Physicists. He collaborated with John Wheeler in the writing of Wheeler's autobiography, 'Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics' (1998).

Duration: 1 minute, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008