Official State historical marker unveiled last June commemorating the invention of the worl d's first electronic digital computer.

  ENIAC is 55!

The School of Engineering and Applied Science is celebrating ENIAC's 55th birthday with the premiere of a new documentary feature on the invention of ENIAC entitled Mauchly: The Computer and the Skateboard. The feature-length video is directed by Paul David and Jim Reed (Mr. Mauchly's grandson).  Mr. David says, "the video tells the story of what happens to the inventor as the huge potential of his invention begins to dawn on those around him--from its triumphant unveiling and first successful operations, to the crushing blow of being stripped of its patent. It is a revealing look at the history of computation and a tribute to one of the unsung scientific heroes of the twentieth century." The video features interviews with Mauchly's former colleagues, friends, computer programmers, and Mauchly's widow. The title of the video comes from recollections by Mauchly's former Ursinus students of a professor who zipped around the classroom on a homemade, jet-propelled skateboard in order to demonstrate Newton's laws of motion. The video, according to the director, documents an early chapter of a story which continues into the present:  the excitement of creating new technology as well as the inevitable sharks swimming in its wake.

SEAS invites the University community to attend the presentation, which will take place on February 14, in Heilmeier Hall, first floor of the Towne Building, at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception. Director Paul David will be on hand to answer questions. "The School takes great pride in its association with an invention that has so dramatically influenced society and that continues to be the genesis of many of the technological advances of today," says SEAS Dean Eduardo Glandt.  "We welcome your attendance at this premiere event."


ENIAC -"Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer" with its inventors.

ENIAC Inventors: (left) John W. Mauchly, and (right) J. Presper Eckert.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 21, February 6, 2001

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