John Vincent Atanasoff
On October 4, 1903 John Vincent Atanasoff was born in Hamilton, New York. His father Ivan Atanasoff was an electrical engineer while his mother, Iva Lucena Purdy was a mathematics schoolteacher. During his early years John was an excellent student and had in interest in sports. It wasn’t until his father purchased a Dietzgn slide rule to help him in his job that John grew an interest in math. John was fascinated by the mathematics tool as soon enough at only the age of 9, with the help of his mother, he read multiple college-level math books and became familiar with differential equations, logarithms, and other advanced math concepts.
In 1919, his family moved to Old Chicora, Florida where John attended high school at Mulberry High school. He completed high school in 2 years and got his diploma at the age of 15. At this point John knew he wanted to study theoretic physics in college. In 1921 he attended the University of Florida, but since the university didn’t offer theoretic physics, John studied electrical engineering. In 1925, John graduated with straight A’s and earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. For his master’s degree, John attended Iowa State College, which at the time was known for its excellent engineering and science program. He graduated in June of 1926 with a Masters of Science in mathematics. At Iowa State College, he also met Lura Meeks who would soon become his wife. Later in 1929, in pursuit of a Ph. D, John enrolled at the University of Wisconsin as a doctoral student in theoretical physics. In his time at the University of Wisconsin, Atanasoff dealt with the Monroe calculator, an advanced calculator at the time. He soon experienced the difficulty of functioning the calculator. After receiving his Ph.D. in theoretic physics, John set back to Iowa State College with intentions to create a better computing machine.
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