John William Mauchly (August 30, 1907 – January 8, 1980) was an American physicist who, along with J. Presper Eckert, designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer, as well as EDVAC, BINAC and UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer made in the United States.
Together they started the first computer company, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), and pioneered fundamental computer concepts including the stored program, subroutines, and programming languages. Their work, as exposed in the widely read First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC (1945) and as taught in the Moore School Lectures (1946), influenced an explosion of computer development in the late 1940s all over the world.
John W. Mauchly was born on August 30, 1907, to Sebastian and Rachel (Scheidermantel) Mauchly in Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved with his parents and sister, Helen Elizabeth (Betty), at an early age to Chevy Chase, Maryland, when Sebastian Mauchly obtained a position at the Carnegie Institute of Washington as head of its Section of Terrestrial Electricity. As a youth, Mauchly was interested in science, and in particular with electricity, and was known to fix neighbors' electric systems at the age of 13 or 14. Mauchly attended E.V. Brown Elementary School in Chevy Chase and McKinley Technical High School in Washington, DC. At McKinley, Mauchly was extremely active in the debate team, was a member of the national honor society, and became editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper, Tech Life. After graduating from high school in 1925, he earned a scholarship to study engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He subsequently transferred to the Physics Department, and without completing his undergraduate degree, instead earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1932.
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