They are by and large anonymous, although their feats of engineering are an essential part of our daily lives. Not much happens today without the aid of digital electronics, and certainly little in the future will take place without it; yet the young engineers who made going digital possible for the rest of us are faceless, when they should be recognized and honored.
When I met these now octogenarians and nonagenarians, they were all too humble to seek gratitude in recognition or a bit of the spotlight if angled in their direction, which it never was. They’d rather retell old-boy yarns among themselves about their glory days than be crowned for their momentous achievements.
Even the old laundry building where they made their digital magic happen wasn’t recognized with a plaque at the door until 2012.
I was fascinated by their intellectual brilliance, engineering prowess and charming humility when speaking about why they did what they did and how they did it.
I asked to speak for them. They were delighted; so I wrote Bright Boys.
The Beginning that Changed Everything
Never in the history of technology has so much been owed by so many to so few
“Bright Boys: A+: This is how a computer history book should be written. It’s an amazing history of MIT in the 1940’s and 1950’s around the invention of the computer.” —Brad Feld, Director, Foundry Group & Co-founder, Techstars
Astonishingly rich and broad recapturing of the subject period. Marvelous and exciting writing!
—Wes Clark, designer of the TX-0 and TX-2 computers
A fascinating story of how it felt to be present at the creation of the Information Age, at a time when, as the author says, there was less than a megabyte of computer memory on the whole planet.
—Paul E. Ceruzzi, Author of A History of Modern Computing
Bright Boys cuts right to the heart of how complex technologic systems are conceived, incubated, and grown across generations. Tom's clever writing style draws a reader into the story and the remarkable depth and breadth of his research holds the reader firm, often enthralled, throughout.
—Dik Daso, Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
It's time to make this high-tech adventure into a movie!
How the World Went Digital for the Very First Time