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#501 2019-02-08 01:21:36

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

468) Federico Faggin

Federico Faggin received a Laurea degree in Physics, summa cum laude, from the University of Padua, Italy, in 1965, and moved to Silicon Valley in 1968. He developed the MOS Silicon Gate Technology in 1968; the world’s first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 in 1971, and several highly-successful microprocessors, like the Intel 8080 and the Z80 produced by Zilog, his first startup company. Faggin was CEO of several high-tech startup companies he founded and directed since 1974.

He is currently president of Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation, dedicated to the science of consciousness. Faggin received many international awards, including the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, from President Barack Obama.

Federico Faggin (born 1 December 1941) is an Italian physicist, inventor and entrepreneur, widely known for designing the first commercial microprocessor. He led the 4004 (MCS-4) project and the design group during the first five years of Intel's microprocessor effort. Most importantly, Faggin created in 1968, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor, the self-aligned MOS silicon gate technology (SGT) that made possible dynamic memories, non-volatile memories, CCD image sensors, and the microprocessor. In addition, he further developed at Intel his original SGT into a new methodology for random logic chip design that was essential to the creation of the world's first single chip microprocessor and all other early Intel microprocessors. He was co-founder (with Ralph Ungermann) and CEO of Zilog, the first company solely dedicated to microprocessors. He was also co-founder and CEO of Cygnet Technologies and of Synaptics.

In 2010 he received the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor the United States confers for achievements related to technological progress.

In 2011, Faggin founded the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation to support the scientific study of consciousness at US universities and research institutes. In 2015, the Faggin Foundation helped to establish a $1 million endowment for the Faggin Family Presidential Chair in the Physics of Information at UC Santa Cruz to promote the study of "fundamental questions at the interface of physics and related fields including mathematics, complex systems, biophysics, and cognitive science, with the unifying theme of information in physics."

Federico Faggin has been a Silicon Valley resident since 1968 and is a naturalized US citizen.

Education and early career

Born in Vicenza, Faggin received a laurea degree in physics, summa cum laude, at the University of Padua, Italy. Federico grew up in an intellectual environment. His father, Giuseppe Faggin, was a scholar who wrote many academic books and translated, with commentaries, the Enneads of Plotinus from the original Greek into modern Italian. Federico manifested, from an early age, a strong interest in technology and decided to attend a technical high school in Vicenza: I.T.I.S (Istitituto Tecnico Industriale Statale) Alessandro Rossi, rather than follow the family tradition of classical studies.

Olivetti R&D Labs

At age 19, after his graduation from I.T.I.S. Alessandro Rossi, a technical high school in Vicenza, Federico Faggin took a job at Olivetti, in Italy, where he co-designed and led the implementation of a small digital transistor computer with 4 K × 12 bit of magnetic memory (1960). The Olivetti R&D was the environment where, a few years later, the Olivetti Programma 101, the world's first programmable desktop electronic calculator, became a reality (1964). After this first work experience, Faggin studied physics at the University of Padua and taught the electronics laboratory course for 3rd year physics students in the academic year 1965-1966.


In 1967 he worked at SGS Fairchild, now STMicroelectronics, in Italy, where he developed SGS's first MOS metal-gate process technology MOS and designed its first two commercial MOS integrated circuits. SGS sent him to California in February 1968 and when Fairchild sold its interests in SGS-Fairchild, Faggin accepted a job offer from Fairchild to complete the development of the Silicon Gate Technology.

Life and accomplishments in Silicon Valley

Fairchild Semiconductor

The silicon-gate technology (SGT) is one of the most influential technologies to have ever fueled the progress of microelectronics since the MOS transistor. Without the SGT the first microprocessor could not have been made in 1970-1971.

In February 1968 Federico Faggin joined Fairchild Semiconductor in Palo Alto where he was the project leader of the MOS Silicon Gate technology with self-aligned gate, and the inventor of its unique process architecture. The SGT became the basis of all modern NMOS and CMOS integrated circuits. It made possible the creation of semiconductor memories in 1969–1970, the first microprocessor in 1970–1971, and the first CCD and EPROM (electrically programmable read only memories) with floating silicon gates (1970-1971). The SGT replaced the incumbent aluminum-gate MOS technology and within 10 years was adopted worldwide, eventually making obsolete the original integrated circuits built with bipolar transistors.

The Fairchild 3708

At Fairchild, Faggin also designed the world's first commercial integrated circuit using Silicon Gate Technology with self aligned MOSFET transistors: the Fairchild 3708. The 3708 was an 8-bit analog multiplexer with decoding logic, replacing the equivalent Fairchild 3705 that used metal-gate technology. The 3708 was 5 times faster, had 100 times less junction leakage and was much more reliable than the 3705, demonstrating the superiority of SGT over metal-gate MOS. See also: Faggin, F., Klein T. (1969). "A Faster Generation of MOS Devices With Low Threshold Is Riding The Crest of the New Wave, Silicon-Gate IC's." Electronics, 29 Sept. 1969.


Federico Faggin joined Intel from Fairchild In 1970 as the project leader and designer of the MCS-4 family, which included the 4004, the world's first single-chip microprocessor. Fairchild was not taking advantage of the SGT and Faggin was burning with the desire of using his new technology to design advanced chips.

The 4004 (1971) was made possible by the advanced capabilities of the silicon gate technology (SGT) being enhanced through the novel random logic chip design methodology that Faggin created at Intel. It was this new methodology, together with his several design innovations, that allowed him to fit the microprocessor in one small chip. A single-chip microprocessor — an idea that was expected to occur many years in the future — became possible in 1971 by using SGT with two additional innovations: (1) "buried contacts" that doubled the circuit density, and (2) the use of bootstrap loads with 2-phase clocks—previously considered impossible with SGT— that improved the speed 5 times, while reducing the chip area by half compared with metal-gate MOS.

The design methodology created by Faggin was utilized for the implementation of all Intel's early microprocessors and later also for Zilog's Z80.

The Intel 4004 — a 4-bit CPU (central processing unit) on a single chip — was a member of a family of 4 custom chips designed for Busicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer. The other members of the family (constituting the MCS-4 family) were: the 4001, a 2k-bit metal-mask programmable ROM with programmable input-output lines; the 4002, a 320-bit dynamic RAM with a 4-bit output port; and the 4003, a 10-bit serial input and serial/parallel output, static shift register to use as an I/O expander. Faggin promoted the idea of broadly marketing the MCS-4 to customers other than Busicom by showing to Intel management how customers could design a control systems using the 4004. He designed and built a 4004 tester using the 4004 as the controller of the tester, thus convincing Bob Noyce to renegotiate the exclusivity clause with Busicom that didn't allow Intel to sell 4004's to other customers.

In 2009, the four contributors to the 4004 were inducted as Fellows of the Computer History Museum. Ted Hoff, head of Application Research Department, formulated the architectural proposal and the instruction set with assistance from Stan Mazor and working in conjunction with Busicom's Masatoshi Shima. However none of them was a chip designer and none was familiar with the new Silicon Gate Technology (SGT). The silicon design was the essential missing ingredient to making a microprocessor since everything else was already known. Federico Faggin led the project in a different department without Hoff's and Mazor's involvement. Faggin had invented the original SGT at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968 and provided additional refinements and inventions to make possible the implementation of the 4004 in a single chip. With routine help from M. Shima, Faggin completed the chip design in January 1971.

Intel's early microprocessors

Faggin's silicon design methodology was used for implementing all Intel's early microprocessors.

The Intel 8008 was the world's first single-chip 8-bit CPU and, like the 4004, was built with p-channel SGT. The 8008 development was originally assigned to Hal Feeney in March 1970 but was suspended until the 4004 was completed. It was resumed in January 1971 under Faggin's direction utilizing the basic circuits and methodology he had developed for the 4004, with Hal Feeney doing the chip design. The CPU architecture of the 8008 was originally created by CTC, Inc., to power the Datapoint 2200 intelligent terminal.

The Intel 4040 microprocessor (1974) was a much improved, machine-code-compatible version of the 4004 CPU allowing it to interface directly with standard memories and I/O devices. Federico Faggin created the 4040s architecture and supervised Tom Innes who did the design work.

The 8080 microprocessor (1974) was the first high-performance 8-bit microprocessor in the market, using the faster n-channel SGT. The 8080 was conceived and designed by F. Faggin and designed by Masatoshi Shima under Faggin's supervision. The 8080 was a major improvement over the 8008 architecture, yet it retained software compatibility with it. It was much faster and easier to interface to external memory and I/O devices than the 8008. The high performance and low cost of the 8080 let developers use microprocessors for many new applications, including the forerunners of the personal computer.

When Faggin left Intel at the end of 1974 to found Zilog with Ralph Ungermann, he was R&D department manager responsible for all MOS products, except for dynamic memories.


Zilog was the first company entirely dedicated to microprocessors started by Federico Faggin and Ralph Ungermann in November 1974. F. Faggin was Zilog's President and CEO until the end of 1980 and he conceived and designed the Z80-CPU and its family of programmable peripheral components. He also co-designed the CPU whose project leader was M.Shima.[20] The Z80-CPU was a major improvement over the 8080, yet it retained software compatibility with it. Much faster and with more than twice as many registers and instructions of the 8080, it was part of a family of components that included several intelligent peripherals (the Z80-PIO, a programmable parallel input-output controller; the Z80-CTC, a programmable counter-timer; the Z80-SIO, programmable serial communications interface controller, and the Z80-DMA, programmable direct memory access controller). This chip family allowed the design of powerful and low-cost microcomputers with performance comparable to minicomputers. The Z80-CPU had a substantially better bus structure and interrupt structure than the 8080 and could interface directly with dynamic RAM, since it included an internal memory-refresh controller. The Z80 was used in many of the early personal computers as well as in game consoles such as the ColecoVision and Game Boy. The Z80 is still in volume production in 2017 as a core microprocessor in various systems on a chip.

The Zilog Z8 micro controller (1978) was one of the first single-chip microcontrollers in the market. It integrated an 8-bit CPU, RAM, ROM and I/O facilities, sufficient for many control applications. Faggin conceived the Z8 in 1974, soon after he founded Zilog, but then decided to give priority to the Z80. The Z8 was designed in 1976–78 and is still in volume production today (2017).

The Communication CoSystem

The Communication CoSystem (1984). The Cosystem was conceived by F. Faggin and designed and produced by Cygnet Technologies, Inc., the second startup company of Faggin. Attached to a personal computer and to a standard phone line, the CoSystem could automatically handle all the personal voice and data communications of the user, including electronic mail, data-base access, computer screen transfers during a voice communication, call record keeping, etc. The patent covering the CoSystem is highly cited in the personal communication field.


In 1986 Faggin co-founded and was CEO of Synaptics[23] until 1999, becoming Chairman from 1999 to 2009. Synaptics was initially dedicated to R&D in artificial neural networks for pattern-recognition applications using analog VLSI. Synaptics introduced the I1000, the world's first single-chip optical character recognizer in 1991. In 1994, Synaptics introduced the touchpad to replace the cumbersome trackball then in use in laptop computers. The touchpad was broadly adopted by the industry. Synaptics also introduced the early touchscreens that were eventually adopted for intelligent phones and tablets; applications that now dominate the market. Faggin came up with the general product idea and led a group of engineers who further refined the idea through many brainstorming sessions. F. Faggin is a co-inventor of 10 patents assigned to Synaptics. He is chairman emeritus of Synaptics.


During his tenure as president and CEO of Foveon, from 2003 to 2008, Faggin revitalized the company and provided a new technological and business direction resulting in image sensors superior in all critical parameters to the best sensors of the competition, while using approximately half the chip size of competing devices. Faggin also oversaw the successful acquisition of Foveon by the Japanese Sigma Corporation in November 2008.

Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation

Founded in 2011 the "Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation" supports the scientific study of consciousness at US universities and research institutes. The purpose of the Foundation is to advance the understanding of consciousness through theoretical and experimental research. Faggin's interest in consciousness has his roots in the study of artificial neural networks at Synaptics, a company he started in 1986, that prompted his inquiry into whether or not it is possible to build a conscious computer.


On the silicon gate technology and the Fairchild 3708

Faggin, F., Klein, T., and Vadasz, L.: Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor Integrated Circuits with Silicon Gates. The Silicon Gate Technology with self-aligned gates was presented by its developer Federico Faggin at the IEEE International Electron Device Meeting on 23 October 1968, in Washington D.C. This new technology empowered the design of dynamic RAM memories, non-volatile memories, CCD sensors and the microprocessor.

Federico Faggin and Thomas Klein.: "A Faster Generation of MOS Devices with Low Thresholds is Riding the Crest of the New Wave, Silicon-Gate IC's". The article published in Electronics (29 September 1969) introduces the Fairchild 3708, the world's first commercial integrated circuit using Silicon Gate Technology, designed by Federico Faggin at Fairchild in 1968.

F. Faggin, T. Klein: Silicon-Gate Technology. "Solid State Electronics", 1970, Vo. 13, pp. 1125–1144

On the 4004 microprocessor

F. Faggin and M. E. Hoff: "Standard Parts and Custom Design Merge in a Four-chip Processor Kit". Electronics, 24 April 1972
F. Faggin, et al.: "The MCS-4 An LSI Microcomputer System". IEEE 1972 Region Six Conference


"The Birth of the Microprocessor" by Federico Faggin. Byte, March 1992, Vol.17 No.3, pp. 145–150.
"The History of the 4004" by Federico Faggin, Marcian E. Hoff Jr., Stanley Mazor, Masatoshi Shima. IEEE Micro, December 1996, Volume 16 Number 6.
"The 4004 microprocessor of Faggin, Hoff, Mazor, and Shima". IEEE Solid State Circuits Magazine, Winter 2009 Vol.1 No.1.
"The MOS silicon gate technology and the first microprocessors" by Federico Faggin. La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento, year 2015, issue 12-December. SIF (Italian Physical Society)
"How we made the microprocessor" by Federico Faggin. Nature Electronics, Vol. 1, January 2018. Published online: 8 January 2018
1988: Marconi International Fellowship Award "for his pioneering contributions to the implementation of the microprocessor, a principal building block of modern telecommunications"
1988: Gold Medal for Science and Technology from the Italian Prime Minister
1988: title of "Grande Ufficiale" from the President of the Italian Republic
1994: W. Wallace McDowell Award "For the development of the Silicon Gate Process, and the first commercial microprocessor."
1994: Laurea honoris causa in Computer Science from the University of Milan (Italy).
1996: Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
1996: a Lifetime Achievement Award by P.C. Magazine for "technical excellence".
1997: Kyoto Prize, with M. Hoff, S. Mazor and M. Shima
1996: inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
1997: George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award by the American Computer Museum, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
1997: Masi Civilta' Veneta Prize
2001: Dr. Robert Noyce Memorial Award by the Semiconductor Industry Association, with M. Hoff and S. Mazor
2003: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy)
2003: AeA/Stanford Executive Institute Award for Outstanding Achievement in the High Tech Industry by an Alumnus
2006: European Inventor of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award by EPO (European Patent Office)
2007: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pavia (Italy)
2008: Laurea honoris causa in Electronic Engineering from the University of Palermo (Italy)
2009: Laurea honoris causa in Computer Sciences from the University of Verona (Italy)
2009: Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his work as part of the team that developed the Intel 4004, the world's first commercial microprocessor."
2009: National Medal of Technology and Innovation from U.S. President Barack Obama
2011: The 2011 George R. Stibitz Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Computer Museum (Bozeman, MT): "For foundational contributions to the development of the modern technological world, including the MOS silicon gate technology that led to the realization of the world's first Microprocessor in 1971."

Source: the book written by Angelo Gallippi titled: Faggin, Il padre del chip intelligente (Faggin, the father of the intelligent chip). Editor Adnkronos, Rome, first edition September 2002, covers the above-mentioned awards (pp. 279–285). Its second edition, February 2012, titled Federico Faggin, il padre del microprocessor (Federico Faggin, the father of the microprocessor). Editor Tecniche nuove, Milan, covers also the topic of Faggin's interest in consciousness and his Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation (pp. 182–187). Angelo Gallippi, a physicist, has been teaching Scientific and Technical Communication at the University La Sapienza in Rome. He is author of a dozen books and of an English-Italian Dictionary of informatics and multimedia (text translated from book cover in Italian)

2012: Global Information Technology Award from the President of the Republic of Armenia.
2012: Honorary Ph.D from the Polytechnic University (Armenia)
2012: Premio Franca Florio, given by Ministro Francesco Profumo and Prof. Ing. Patrizia Livreri
2013: Honorary Ph.D in science from Chapman University (CA)
2014: Enrico Fermi Award, given by the Italian Society of Physics: "For the invention of the MOS silicon gate technology that led him to the realization in 1971 of the first modern microprocessor."


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#502 2019-02-10 00:13:10

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

469) Thomas Harold Flowers

Thomas Harold Flowers,  (22 December 1905 – 28 October 1998) was an English engineer with the British Post Office. During World War II, Flowers designed and built Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic computer, to help solve encrypted German messages.

Early life

Flowers was born at 160 Abbott Road, Poplar in London's East End on 22 December 1905, the son of a bricklayer. Whilst undertaking an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering at the Royal math, Woolwich, he took evening classes at the University of London to earn a degree in electrical engineering. In 1926, he joined the telecommunications branch of the General Post Office(GPO), moving to work at the research station at Dollis Hill in north-west London in 1930. In 1935, he married Eileen Margaret Green and the couple later had two children, John and Kenneth.

From 1935 onward, he explored the use of electronics for telephone exchanges and by 1939, he was convinced that an all-electronic system was possible. A background in switching electronics would prove crucial for his computer designs.

World War II

Flowers' first contact with wartime codebreaking came in February 1941 when his director, W. Gordon Radley was asked for help by Alan Turing, who was working at Bletchley Park the government codebreaking establishment, 50 mi (80 km) north west of London in Buckinghamshire. Turing wanted Flowers to build a decoder for the relay-based Bombe machine, which Turing had developed to help decrypt German Enigma codes. The decoder project was abandoned but Turing was impressed with Flowers's work, and in February 1943 introduced him to Max Newman who was leading the effort to automate part of the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher. This was a high-level German code generated by a teletypewriter in-line cipher machine, the SZ40/42, one of their Geheimschreiber (secret writer) systems, called "Tunny" (tunafish) by the British. It was a much more complex system than Enigma; the decoding procedure involved trying so many possibilities that it was impractical to do by hand. Flowers and Frank Morrell (also at Dollis Hill) designed the Heath Robinson, in an attempt to automate the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz SZ-40/42 cipher machine.
Flowers proposed a more sophisticated alternative, using an electronic system, which his staff called Colossus, using perhaps 1,800 thermionic valves (vacuum tubes) instead of 150 and having only one paper tape instead of two (which required synchronisation) by generating the wheel patterns electronically. Because the most complicated previous electronic device had used about 150 valves, some were sceptical that the system would be reliable. Flowers countered that the British telephone system used thousands of valves and was reliable because the electronics were operated in a stable environment with the circuitry on all the time. The Bletchley management were not convinced and merely encouraged Flowers to proceed on his own. He did so at the Post Office Research Labs, using some of his own funds to build it. Flowers had first met (and got on with) Turing in 1939 but was treated with disdain by Gordon Welchman, because of his advocacy of valves rather than relays. Welchman preferred the views of Wynn-Williams and Keene of the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) who had designed and constructed the Bombe and wanted Radley and "Mr Flowers of Dollis Hill" removed from work on Colossus for "squandering good valves".

Despite the success of Colossus, the Heath Robinson approach was still valuable for solving certain problems. The final development of the concept was a machine called Super Robinson that was designed by Tommy Flowers. This one could run four tapes and was used for running depths and "cribs" or known-plaintext attack runs.  On 2 June 1943, Flowers was made a member of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1994, a team led by Tony Sale(right) began a reconstruction of a Colossus at Bletchley Park. Here, in 2006, Sale supervises the breaking of an enciphered message with the completed machine.

Flowers gained full backing for his project from the director of the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill, W. G. Radley. With the highest priority for acquisition of parts, Flowers's team at Dollis Hill built the first machine in eleven months. It was immediately dubbed 'Colossus' by the Bletchley Park staff for its immense proportions. The Mark 1 Colossus operated five times faster and was more flexible than the previous system, named Heath Robinson, which used electro-mechanical switches. The first Mark 1, with 1500 valves, ran at Dollis Hill in November 1943; it was delivered to Bletchley Park in January 1944 where it was assembled and began operation in early February. The algorithms used by Colossus were developed by W.T. Tutte and his team of mathematicians. Colossus proved to be efficient and quick against the twelve-rotor Lorenz cipher SZ42 machine.

In anticipation of a need for additional computers, Flowers was already working on Colossus Mark 2 which would employ 2,400 valves. The first Mark 2 went into service at Bletchley Park on 1 June 1944 and immediately produced vital information for the imminent D-Day landings planned for Monday 5 June (postponed 24 hours by bad weather). Flowers later described a crucial meeting between Dwight D. Eisenhowerand his staff on 5 June, during which a courier entered and handed Eisenhower a note summarising a Colossus decrypt. This confirmed that Adolf Hitler wanted no additional troops moved to Normandy, as he was still convinced that the preparations for the Normandy Landingswere a feint. Handing back the decrypt, Eisenhower announced to his staff, "We go tomorrow". Earlier, a report from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel on the western defences was decoded by Colossus and revealed that one of the sites chosen as the drop site for a US parachute division was the base for a German tank division and the site was changed.

Years later, Flowers described the design and construction of the computers. Ten Colossi were completed and used during the Second World War in British decoding efforts and an eleventh was ready for commissioning at the end of the war. All but two were dismantled at the end of the war, "The remaining two were moved to a British Intelligence department, GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where they may have played a significant part in the codebreaking operations of the Cold War". They were finally decommissioned in 1959 and 1960. A functioning Colossus Mark II was rebuilt by a team of volunteers led by Tony Sale between 1993 and 2008. It is on display at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Front view of the Colossus rebuild showing, from right to left (1) The "bedstead" containing the message tape in its continuous loop and with a second one loaded. (2) The J-rack containing the Selection Panel and Plug Panel. (3) The K-rack with the large "Q" switch panel and sloping patch panel. (4) The double S-rack containing the control panel and, above the image of a postage stamp, five two-line counter displays. (5) The electric typewriter in front of the five sets of four "set total" decade switches in the C-rack.

Post-war work and retirement

After the war, Flowers received little recognition for his contribution to cryptanalysis. The government granted him £1,000 payment which did not cover Flowers' personal investment in the equipment; he shared much of the money amongst the staff who had helped him build and test Colossus. Flowers applied for a loan from the Bank of England to build another machine like Colossus but was denied the loan because the bank did not believe that such a machine could work. He could not argue that he had already designed and built many of these machines because his work on Colossus was covered by the Official Secrets Act. It was not until the 1970s that Flowers' work in computing was fully acknowledged. His family had known only that he had done some 'secret and important' work. He remained at the Post Office Research Station where he was Head of the Switching Division. He and his group pioneered work on all-electronic telephone exchanges, completing a basic design by about 1950, which led on to the Highgate Wood Telephone Exchange. He was also involved in the development of ERNIE. In 1964, he became head of the advanced development at Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd., where he continued to develop electronic telephone switching including a pulse amplitude modulation exchange, retiring in 1969.

In 1976, he published “Introduction to Exchange Systems”, a book on the engineering principles of telephone exchanges.
In 1977 Flowers was made an honorary Doctor of Science by Newcastle University.
In 1980 he was the first winner of the Martlesham Medal in recognition of his achievements in computing.
In 1993, he received a certificate from Hendon College, having completed a basic course in information processing on a personal computer.

Flowers died in 1998 aged 92, leaving a wife and two sons. He is commemorated at the Post Office Research Station site, which became a housing development, with the main building converted into a block of flats and an access road called Flowers Close. He was honoured by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where he was born. An Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centre for young people, the Tommy Flowers Centre, opened there in November 2010. The centre has closed but the building is now the Tommy Flowers Centre, part of the Tower Hamlets Pupil Referral Unit.

In September 2012, his wartime diary was put on display at Bletchley Park. A road in Kesgrave, near the current BT Research Laboratories, is named Tommy Flowers Drive.

On 12 December 2013, 70 years after he created Colossus, his legacy was honoured with a memorial commissioned by BT, successor to Post Office Telephones. The life-size bronze bust, designed by James Butler, was unveiled by Trevor Baylis at Adastral Park, BT's research and development centre in Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, Suffolk. BT also began a computer science scholarship and award in his name.

On 29 September 2016 BT opened the Tommy Flowers Institute for ICT training at Adastral Park to support the development of postgraduates transferring into industry. The institute focuses on bringing ICT-sector organisations together with academic researchers to solve some of the challenges facing UK businesses, exploring areas such as cybersecurity, big data, autonomics and converged networks. The launch event was attended by professors from Cambridge, Oxford, East Anglia, Essex, Imperial, UCL, Southampton, Surrey, and Lancaster as well as representatives from the National Physical Laboratory, Huawei, Ericsson, CISCO, ARM and ADVA.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#503 2019-02-12 00:24:26

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

470) Herman Frasch

German-born American chemist

Herman Frasch, the son of a prosperous apothecary, was born in Gaildorf, Württemberg (now part of Germany) on Christmas Day 1851. He studied at the gymnasium in Halle but rather than attend the university, he decided to immigrate to the United States in 1868. Frasch taught at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and continued to study chemistry with an eye to becoming an expert in a newly-emerging field, petroleum .

The oil industry in the United States began with the opening of the Titusville, Pennsylvania, oil field in 1859. In 1870, John D. Rockefeller  formed Standard Oil—which refined a majority of the oil in the country—in Cleveland, Ohio. Frasch sold his patent for an improved process for refining paraffin wax to a subsidiary of Standard Oil in 1877 and moved to Cleveland to open a laboratory and consulting office. Soon he became the city's outstanding chemical consultant. In 1882, he sold to the Imperial Oil Company in Ontario, Canada, a process for reducing the high sulfur content of petroleum, which gave it a disagreeable odor and caused the kerosene refined from it to burn poorly. When Standard Oil discovered a field of "sour oil" in Indiana and Ohio, the company hired Frasch as a full time consultant, bought his process and the Empire Oil Company he had recently purchased in Ontario, and gave him charge of the American petroleum industry's first experimental research program. Frasch's process for removing sulfur, patented in 1887, was to treat the petroleum with a variety of metallic oxides to precipitate the sulfur and recover the oxides for further use. He continued with Standard Oil as special consultant for the development of new petroleum by-products and became wealthy. He refused to join Standard Oil as an executive, choosing instead to be a lifetime consultant.

Frasch turned his attention to sulfur, the substance his process removed from petroleum. The island of Sicily held a virtual monopoly on this valuable mineral from which sulfuric acid, industry's most vital chemical, was made. While Sicilian sulfur deposits were near the earth's surface and more easily mined, sulfur deposits in Texas and Louisiana were deeper, and American laborers were unwilling to go into sulfur mines. Frasch believed that sulfur could be melted and pumped from the ground in much the same manner petroleum was, but boiling water was not hot enough to liquefy the sulfur. He organized the Union Sulfur Company in 1892, and two years later began employing the method he had patented a year earlier. His process required three concentric pipes to be sunk into the sulfur deposit. Water, superheated under pressure to above 241°F (116°C), was pumped into the sulfur deposit through the outside pipe. Compressed air was forced down the center pipe, and through the center pipe the melted sulfur flowed to the surface where it was pumped into bins to solidify. The major problem with this method was the cost of heating the water, but the discovery of the East Texas oil fields in the early twentieth century provided an inexpensive, readily available fuel supply. Frasch expanded his research into the use of sulfur as an insecticide and a fungicide. Other companies infringed on his patent rights, and his company disappeared, but the use of the Frasch process enabled the United States to become self-sufficient in the production of sulfur needed to supply its growing chemical industry.

Frasch died in Paris on May 1, 1914. Among his honors was the Perkin Medal in 1912. His greatest honor was the distinction of having two chemical processes, one for producing sulfur and the other for removing sulfur from petroleum, carry his name.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#504 2019-02-14 00:20:25

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

471) Nicholas Callan

Father Nicholas Joseph Callan (22 December 1799 – 10 January 1864) was an Irish priest and scientist from Darver, County Louth, Ireland. He was Professor of Natural Philosophy in Maynooth College in County Kildare from 1834, and is best known for his work on the induction coil.

Early life and education

He attended school at an academy in Dundalk. His local parish priest, Father Andrew Levins, then took him in hand as an altar boy and Mass server, and saw him start the priesthood at Navan seminary. He entered Maynooth College in 1816. In his third year at Maynooth, Callan studied natural and experimental philosophy under Dr. Cornelius Denvir. He introduced the experimental method into his teaching, and had an interest in electricity and magnetism.

Callan was ordained a priest in 1823 and went to Rome to study at Sapienza University, obtaining a doctorate in divinity in 1826. While in Rome he became acquainted with the work of the pioneers in electricity such as Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) who was a pioneer in modern obstetrics and Alessandro Volta (1745–1827) who is known especially for the development of the electric battery. In 1826, Callan returned to Maynooth as the new Professor of Natural Philosophy (now called physics), where he also began working with electricity in his basement laboratory at the college.

Induction coil

Influenced by William Sturgeon and Michael Faraday, Callan began work on the idea of the induction coil in 1834. He invented the first induction coil in 1836. An induction coil produces an intermittent high-voltage alternating current from a low-voltage direct current supply. It has a primary coil consisting of a few turns of thick wire wound around an iron core and subjected to a low voltage (usually from a battery). Wound on top of this is a secondary coil made up of many turns of thin wire. An iron armature and make-and-break mechanism repeatedly interrupts the current to the primary coil, producing a high-voltage, rapidly alternating current in the secondary circuit.

Callan invented the induction coil because he needed to generate a higher level of electricity than currently available. He took a bar of soft iron, about 2 feet (0.61 m) long, and wrapped it around with two lengths of copper wire, each about 200 feet (61 m) long. Callan connected the beginning of the first coil to the beginning of the second. Finally, he connected a battery, much smaller than the enormous contrivance just described, to the beginning and end of winding one. He found that when the battery contact was broken, a shock could be felt between the first terminal of the first coil and the second terminal of the second coil.

Further experimentation showed how the coil device could bring the shock from a small battery up the strength level of a big battery. So, Callan tried making a bigger coil. With a battery of only 14 seven-inch (178 mm) plates, the device produced power enough for an electric shock "so strong that a person who took it felt the effects of it for several days." Callan thought of his creation as a kind of electromagnet; but what he actually made was a primitive induction transformer.

Callan's induction coil also used an interrupter that consisted of a rocking wire that repeatedly dipped into a small cup of mercury (similar to the interrupters used by Charles Page). Because of the action of the interrupter, which could make and break the current going into the coil, he called his device the "repeater." Actually, this device was the world's first transformer. Callan had induced a high voltage in the second wire, starting with a low voltage in the adjacent first wire. And the faster he interrupted the current, the bigger the spark. In 1837 he produced his giant induction machine: using a mechanism from a clock to interrupt the current 20 times a second, it generated 15-inch (380 mm) sparks, an estimated 60,000 volts and the largest artificial bolt of electricity then seen.

The 'Maynooth Battery' and other inventions

Callan experimented with designing batteries after he found the models available to him at the time to be insufficient for research in electromagnetism. ‘The Year-book of Facts in Science and Art’, published in 1849, has an article titled "The Maynooth Battery" which begins "We noticed this new and cheap Voltaic Battery in the Year-book of Facts, 1848, p. 14,5. The inventor, the Rev. D. Callan, Professor of Natural Philosophy in Maynooth College, has communicated to the Philosophical Magazine, No. 219, some additional experiments, comparing the power of a cast-iron (or Maynooth) battery with that of a Grove's of equal size." Some previous batteries had used rare metals such as platinum or unresponsive materials like carbon and zinc. Callan found that he could use inexpensive cast-iron instead of platinum or carbon. For his Maynooth battery he used iron casting for the outer casing and placed a zinc plate in a porous pot (a pot that had an inside and outside chamber for holding two different types of acid) in the centre. Using a single fluid cell he disposed of the porous pot and two different fluids. He was able to build a battery with just a single solution.
While experimenting with batteries, Callan also built the world's largest battery at that time. To construct this battery, he joined together 577 individual batteries ("cells"), which used over 30 gallons of acid. Since instruments for measuring current or voltages had not yet been invented, Callan measured the strength of a battery by measuring how much weight his electromagnet could lift when powered by the battery. Using his giant battery, Callan's electromagnet lifted 2 tons. The Maynooth battery went into commercial production in London. Callan also discovered an early form of galvanisation to protect iron from rusting when he was experimenting on battery design, and he patented the idea.

He died in 1864 and is buried in the cemetery in St. Patrick's College, Maynooth.


The Callan Building on the north campus of NUI Maynooth, a university which was part of St Patrick's College until 1997, was named in his honour. In addition, Callan Hall in the south campus, was used through the 1990s for first year science lectures including experimental & mathematical physics, chemistry and biology. The Nicholas Callan Memorial Prize is an annual prize awarded to the best final year student in Experimental Physics.


•    ‘Electricity and Galvanism’ (introductory textbook), 1832

(An induction coil or "spark coil" (archaically known as an inductorium or Ruhmkorff coil[1] after Heinrich Rühmkorff) is a type of electrical transformer used to produce high-voltage pulses from a low-voltage direct current (DC) supply. To create the fluxchanges necessary to induce voltage in the secondary coil, the direct current in the primary coil is repeatedly interrupted by a vibrating mechanical contact called an interrupter. Invented in 1836 by Nicholas Callan, with additional research by Charles Grafton Page and others, the induction coil was the first type of transformer. It was widely used in x-ray machines, spark-gap radio transmitters, arc lighting and quack medical electrotherapy devices from the 1880s to the 1920s. Today its only common use is as the ignition coils in internal combustion engines and in physics education to demonstrate induction.)


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#505 2019-02-16 00:14:35

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

472) Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin

Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin (4 March [O.S. 17 March 1909] 1909 in Moscow – 17 July 1993 in Moscow) was a Soviet scientist, designer of the first soviet rocket launch complexes.

An asteroid, 22254 Vladbarmin, was named in his honor.

Honours and awards

•    Hero of Socialist Labour (1956)
•    Lenin Prize (1957)
•    Stalin Prize (1943)
•    USSR State Prize, three times (1967, 1977, 1985)
•    Six Orders of Lenin
•    Order of the October Revolution
•    Order of Kutuzov 1st class
•    Order of the Red Banner of Labour, twice
•    Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin"
•    Medal "In Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of Moscow"

Scientist. Born Vladimir Il'ich Barmin in Moscow, Russia, he was best known for being the chief designer of the rocket launch pads for the Soviet Union's space explorations. After graduation from the Moscow Higher Technical School in 1930, he worked at the Kompressor Plant. In 1941, he became director and chief designer of the design office and started working on compressor construction, plus refrigeration engineering, for airplane and early jet fuels. After World War II, he was assigned to develop the launch equipment for the Russian copies of German missiles. He served in position as chief engineer of development of launch pads and planned Soviet lunar bases until the project was terminated in 1974. He has received two USSR State Prizes in 1943, 1967, one Lenin Prize in 1957, five Orders of Lenin, two other orders, various medals and was named an Academician of the Academy of Sciences in 1966. He died at age 84 in Moscow, Russia.

Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin was an outstanding Soviet scientist in the field of mechanics and rocket engineering. Hero of Socialist Labor (1956). Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966). Laureate of the Lenin (1957) Prize, Stalin (1943) and two State Prizes (1967, 1977) of the USSR. Professor MVTU (1960). He graduated from the Moscow Higher Technical School (1930). Since 1931 he taught at the Moscow Higher Technical University. Since 1941 - chief and chief designer of the design bureau.

Since 1946 Barmin was the chief, then the general designer of the state design bureau of the special. machine building (GSKB Spetsmash, since 1967 - KB general mechanical engineering) of the Ministry of General Mechanical Engineering of the USSR to develop rocket and space launch complexes, organized on the basis of the SKB "Compressor". Beginning in 1947, under the leadership of Barmin, reliable mobile and stationary launching complexes for the preparation and launch of ballistic missiles R-1, P-2 (1948-52), R-11, R-5 and P-5M (1954- 56). At the same time, work was begun in his design bureau to solve the problem of launching missiles from mines. The Mayak silo launcher (1960) designed for this purpose made it possible to conduct a series of scientific research trials, as a result of which, in the period 1958-63, a large group of silos were designed.

In the post-war years, the State Union Design Bureau of Special Machine Building under the leadership of Barmin became the head developer of the ground technological equipment of the Republic of Kazakhstan, ground and mine PU. Since 1963 GSKB took part in the development of the launch complex of a new generation of the "OS" type with the UR-100 missile. He is the author of many scientific works on launching complexes of modern missiles, issues of compressor construction, refrigeration, etc. Under his direct supervision, the first launching complexes, which have no analogues in the world practice for rocket and space systems, have been developed, and a unique technological equipment for these complexes has been created. One of the pioneers of rocket education. From February 1, 1946 to August 25, 1947 he was a teacher at the country's first department of jet weapons. He was awarded 7 orders. He died on July 17, 1993.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#506 Today 00:21:57

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,826

Re: crème de la crème

473) Gustaf Dalén

Nils Gustaf Dalén (30 November 1869 – 9 December 1937) was a Swedish Nobel Laureate and industrialist, the founder of the AGA company and inventor of the AGA cooker and the Dalén light. In 1912 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys".

Early years

Dalén was born in Stenstorp, a small village in Falköping Municipality, Västra Götaland County. He managed the family farm, which he expanded to include a market garden, a seed merchants and a dairy. In 1892 he invented a milk-fat tester to check milk quality of the milk delivered and went to Stockholm to show his new invention for Gustaf de Laval. de Laval was impressed by the self-taught Dalén and the invention and encouraged him to get a basic technical education. He was admitted to the Chalmers University of Technology where he earned his Master's degree and a Doctorate on leaving in 1896. Dalén was much the same type of inventor as Gustaf de Laval, not afraid of testing "impossible" ideas, but Dalén was much more careful with the company economy. The products should have a solid market place before he introduced a new product.

Career with AGA

In 1906 Dalén became chief engineer at the Gas Accumulator Company (manufacturer and distributor of acetylene) and in 1909 when AGA was founded, he was appointed the managing director for the company. During his life, AGA was one of the most innovative companies in Sweden and produced a large variety of products that grew every year. Finally in the early 1970s AGA was forced to reduce the number of markets it was involved in and concentrate on the production of gases for industrial use.

In 1909 he ascended to the position of Managing Director of the renamed company Svenska Aktiebolaget Gasaccumulator (AGA). AGA developed lighthouses using Dalén's products. In 1910 the company bought a large real estate in Lidingö and built a production plant that was completed around 1912, when they moved out from the facilities in Stockholm.

Dalen light

Initially Dalén worked with acetylene (IUPAC: ethyne), a flammable and sometimes explosive hydrocarbon gas. Dalén invented Agamassan (Aga), a substrate used to absorb the gas allowing safe storage and hence commercial exploitation.

Acetylene produced an ultra-bright white light which superseded the less bright LPG as the fuel of choice for lighthouse illumination.

Dalén exploited the new fuel, developing the Dalén light which incorporated another invention, the sun valve. This device allowed the light to operate only at night, conserving fuel, and extending their service life to over a year.

The 'Dalen Flasher' was a device that, except for a small pilot light, only consumed gas during the flash stage. This reduced gas consumption by more than 90%. The AGA lighthouse equipment worked without any type of electric supply and was thus extremely reliable.

To a rugged coastal area like Scandinavia, his mass-produced, robust, minimal maintenance buoys were a significant boon to safety and livelihood. AGA Lighthouses covered the entire Panama Canal.

AGA cooker

In 1922 he patented his invention of the AGA cooker. Most of the testing for the cooker was made in his private kitchen in his Villa Ekbacken that was built when AGA moved to Lidingö in 1912 but that he never actually had a chance to see with his own eyes. His family helped him with the development work, checking temperatures, airflow etc., as the development work proceeded.

Personal life

His parents were Anders and Lovisa Dalén. He married Elma Persson in 1901. They had four children, two daughters and two sons;

•    Maja, married Silfverstolpe (1904–1995)
•    Gunnar (1905–1970)
•    Anders (1907–1994)
•    Inga-Lisa, married Keen (1910–2006)

The accident in 1912

Early in 1912, Dalén was blinded in an acetylene explosion during a test of maximum pressure for the accumulators. Later the same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. Too ill to attend the presentation, Dalén had his brother, ophthalmologist Professor Albin Dalén of the Caroline Institute, stand in his place.

The presentation speech praised the quality of sacrificing personal safety in scientific experimentation, a compliment that compared Dalén with Nobel himself. Despite his blindness, Dalén controlled AGA until his death in 1937. He received over 100 patents during his lifetime.

Honours and awards

•    Nobel Prize for Physics 1912
•    Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
•    Member of the Academy of Science and Engineering


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


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