Whatever else you may think of him, Bill Gates has developed star power comparable to that normally reserved for athletes or rock stars. It is refreshing to see individuals like Gates and Steve Jobs being treated as heroes to be emulated rather than as geeks to be ridiculed. However, there is still so much that can be done in the computing field, that no one, not even the experts, really has a clue what directions computers will take us. With so much untapped potential, it is necessary for young people to be exposed to the field as soon as possible. This book, a collection of short biographies of ten of the dominant personalities in the history of American computing, is written for the late elementary or very early middle school child. While their lives are not explored in great depth, there is enough to give the children a sense of what they accomplished and why it is important. While one can hardly quibble that each person selected certainly deserves to be included in this book, I firmly believe that no collection is complete without a reference to John Atanasoff. Unfortunately, the author chose not to include a biography of him. Other than that, the book is an excellent choice for school libraries and research projects. This is a book about some of the real heroes of our society, people whose accomplishments will matter decades from now. It is clear that some children who read it today will find their biographies in similar works in a half-century or so.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Grade 5-9-Beginning with Herman Hollerith's punched-card system and ending with Marc Andreessen and his NetscapeR Navigator, this volume profiles 13 American pioneers in the field of computer technology. Approximately 10 pages in length, the biographical sketches include average-quality black-and-white photographs and highlight the sort of material that interests young people: where the subjects were born, what they did and/or enjoyed as children, family background, and good coverage of the contributions that made them famous. Students will find the text easy to read, nontechnical, and filled with enough information for reports and enough appeal to spark further investigation. These pioneers are portrayed as real people who liked math or science, who came from many different backgrounds, and who persevered when it would have been easier to give up or find something less frustrating to do. Relevant Internet sites are appended. Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Contents: Herman Hollerith - John von Neumann - Grace Hopper - John W. Mauchly - J. Presper Eckert, Jr. - An Wang - Jack Kilby - Robert Noyce - Bill Gates - Steven Jobs - Stephen Wozniak - Marc Hannah - Marc Andreessen.