[SIGCIS-Members] Living Pioneers

Roger Johnson rgj at dcs.bbk.ac.uk
Fri Nov 10 08:59:47 PST 2017


Hi

As far as I know Raymond Bird who built the prototype BTM HEC 1 in 1951 is still very much with us and was part of Tom's series of interviews. Admittedly just after the very first generation.

Kathleen Booth is still alive but rather frail in Canada who is the widow of A D Booth who built computers together at Birkbeck College in the UK from 1946 onwards. 

Are none of the NPL folk still alive? I hesitate to float names in the public domain but there are a few whose passing I would have expected to have seen noted.

Good wishes

Roger Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Lean, Tom
Sent: 10 November 2017 16:11
To: members at sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Living Pioneers

That's very sad. Geoff was my very first interviewee for An Oral History of British Science and a thoroughly interesting chap to talk to. His understated reflections on how little fuss there was when they got the Baby working "we congratulated each other and we went to lunch together, which we quite often did anyway" and the anticipated limited prospects of computing in the 1940s have stuck with me: "We thought there would be scope for another, one or perhaps two big computers in the UK and three or four in Europe and probably half a dozen in the US because they always have big ideas in the US, and the... that was the eventual scope of our invention, we thought." - https://www.bl.uk/voices-of-science/interviewees/geoff-tootill/audio/geoff-tootill-early-expectations-for-computers

Full interview (18 hours) plus transcript is at http://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Science/021M-C1379X0002XX-0001V0  if anyone is interested further...

Tom


Dr Thomas Lean
--
An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry / An Oral History of British Science National Life Stories The British Library http://www.bl.uk/voices-of-science
________________________________________
From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] on behalf of Brian L. Stuart [blstuart at bellsouth.net]
Sent: 10 November 2017 15:52
To: members at sigcis.org
Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Living Pioneers

I was suprised to learn of the recent passing of Geoff Tootill who worked on the Manchester Baby.  I had guessed that at age 101, Harry Husky was the last living alum of the first generation projects when he passed away earlier this year.  This raises the question of whether Tootill was the last one.  To put a finer point on the question, is anyone who was involved with the original designs of the ENIAC, the Baby, the EDSAC, the Pilot ACE, the Z1, or the Harvard Mark I still with us?

BLS
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