History of Computing Prominent at 3 Societies Conference

The 2008 Joint Meeting of the BSHS, CSHPS, and HSS (aka 3 Societies) held at Keble College, Oxford in July was the site of several talks and sessions of interest to SIGCIS.

Michael S. Mahoney has passed away

Renowned historian, and friend and colleague of many SIGCIS members, Michael S. Mahoney, died last night. Further information, including UPDATES, is posted below.

UPDATE 7/28/08: Times of Trenton published an obituary, "Princeton University loses a 'master teacher'". The Times article relays Angela Creager's apt summary of Mike's gifts as a teacher.

Call for Syllabi

One of the missions of SIGCIS is to create a repository of history of computing syllabi. The subject is taught all over the world, but there's not enough interaction between those who teach it. What better way to start than to share the syllabi we've developed?

If you would like to contribute yours to the collection here, just email it to november+at+sc.edu.

Charles Babbage, 'Irascible Genius,' and the First Computer

(Doron Swade's Computer History Museum Lecture on Charles Babbage and his Engines, May 10, 2008 at the Opening of the Babbage Exhibit at the Museum)

Alan J. Weissberger IEEE Sr. Member and Program Chair IEEE ComSoc SCV

Disclaimer: All opinions, inferences and conclusions expressed in the article are that of noted Babbage authority Doron Swade, who presented the lecture. Dr. Swade later clarified various aspects of his talk as well as the construction of Babbage Difference Engine 2 at the London Museum of Science, where he was responsible for its construction and a documentary video.

May 30 U of M conference explores gender gap in computing professions

The University of Minnesota's Charles Babbage Institute presents an international conference exploring the gender gap in computing on Friday, May 30, at the Charles Babbage Institute, Anderson Library, 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required for lunch and/or dinner.

The conference, entitled History | Gender | Computing, features presenters from six countries who will observe that women were active participants in the early days of computer programming, but examine why computing today is one of the most gender-segregated domains of modern life. Complementing the presentations is a scheduled poster session, showcasing additional views and innovative projects, as well as a new exhibit, "Gendered Bits," exploring how gender has shaped the professional identities and material culture of computing.


Charles Babbage Difference Engine #2 -- See it LIVE !!

On May 10, 2008, Join the Computer History Museum in launching its exciting new exhibit: "Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2," exhibited for the first time in North America.

This five-ton Engine is one of only two of Charles Babbage's computing engines ever built. Designed to calculate and print mathematical tables, it is made of 8,000 parts of bronze, cast iron and steel and measures 11 feet long by 7 feet high. Come see docents crank the Engine by hand and watch it mechanically calculate - an arresting spectacle of automatic computing.

Old computer journals available

Zachary Schrag (George Mason Univ.) is giving away many volumes of the Communications of the ACM and Computing Reviews. Below, I've reposted his message (originally from H-SCI-MED-TECH).

Subject: Old computer journals available
From: "Zachary Schrag"
Date: Sat, January 12, 2008 3:55 am

My stepfather, Robert Fenichel, is cleaning out his Washington, D.C.,
basement and would like to know if anyone wants the following
computer journals:

GenBank at 25 Celebration at NIH

The GenBank database is turning 25 this year and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) will be holding a major celebration on April 7-8, 2008. The mood of the event seems to be quite triumphal. Speakers include J. Craig Venter, Sydney Brenner, Francis Collins, and Elias Zerhouni. The event is open to all but registration is required. See:

Commodore 64 turns 25

To mark a quarter-century of C64 history, CNN.com has posted "Commodore 64 still loved after all these years" as its headline story (12/07/2007). The article also mentions the Computer History Museum's celebration of the anniversary, which will be held on 12/10/2007.

Encyclopedia of American Technology (ABC-CLIO) is looking for entries

ABC-CLIO has circulated a few messages asking for contributors to its upcoming Encyclopedia of American Technology, edited by Dr. Ed Pershey of the Western Reserve Historical Society. I've posted their H-SCI-MED-TECH call for entries below.

Subject: Encyclopedia of American Technology
From: "Steven Danver"
Date: Wed, November 14, 2007 7:28 pm
(Distributed on H-SCI-MED-TECH on 11/14/2007)


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