Photo Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society; Photographer Yousuf Karsh

Herman H. Goldstine

  • National Medal of Science
  • Mathematics And Computer Science

For his fundamental contributions to the development of the digital computer, computer programming and numerical analysis.

Next time you log on to your computer or laptop, think Herman Heine Goldstine. Considered one of the original developers of the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), his work paved the way for modern electronic digital computers.

After joining the U.S. Army in 1942 at the start of World War II, Goldstine was commissioned a lieutenant and worked as a mathematician at the the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, calculating elevation and azimuth for aiming artillery.

Working as a liaison between the Laboratory and the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldstine helped secure funding from the Army for an electronic computer. 30 months and 30 tons later, the ENIAC was born in late 1945. 200,000 hours of work led to the creation of the number-crunching machine, the results were kept under wraps until after the war.

Goldstine went on to become among the chief scientists of the International Business Machine Corporation for 26 years.

By Melissa Ayala

Headshot courtesy of the American Philosophical Museum; photo by Yousuf Karsh. Object Record.