George Dyson - The Birth of the Computer

In this amusing and interesting presentation, historian and philosopher of science George Dyson (son of the famous physicist Freeman Dyson) narrates the history of the modern computer, from its conceptual birth in the minds of philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Gottfried Leibniz to its material design and testing phases during and after the Manhattan Project.

The best part, in my opinion, is the hilarious collection of engineer logs that document both the obstacles they had to overcome and the fact that engineers' personalities are expressed in their work. Apparently, engineers also love sugar...



Want more?

You can check out what Leibniz had to do with the invention of the binary system we use in modern computers in the interesting story of the number 1, or watch the tragicomedy of being the lonely number 0.

You could also watch the spectacular documentary Trinity: The Atomic Bomb Movie, which is full of impressive detonation footage.

If you're curious about why the atomic bomb was even possible, you can watch how Einstein's theory of relativity relates to it.

Finally, you can check out more TEDTalk presentations.
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