100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time

By Kendall Haven | Go to book overview

Personal Computer
Year of Invention: 1977

What Is It? A programmable, interactive computer designed to be operated
and owned by an individual.

Who Invented It? Steve Wozniak (in Palo Alto, California)


Why Is This Invention One of the 100 Greatest?

The personal computer (PC) redefined how we work, play, and communicate. PCs opened the power of computers to individuals, schools, homes—to the whole population. PCs made the growth and explosion of the World Wide Web and the Internet possible.

PCs have not only replaced all other word processing machines, business management machines, and accounting machines, but have also become a prime method of personal and business communication. PCs have also become a principal source of entertainment (games, music, and movies).

Amazingly, PCs have accomplished all this in less than 25 years! Business, work, study, personal connections, entertainment—all facets of life now seem to revolve around the PC. Personal computers are as much a part of many people’s day as is a wristwatch, electric lights, or a car.


History of the Invention

What Did People Do Before?

The first computers were built in the early 1940s. Room-sized monsters that spewed heat from tubes and mechanical relays, they required teams of specially trained operators. These massive central computers were housed in guarded, air-conditioned, and dehumidified rooms on university campuses and in governmental complexes.

The transistor, invented in 1947 by Bardeen and Shockley, eliminated the need for bulky, heat-producing vacuum tubes and shrank the size of central computers to less than one-tenth of their former size. The microchip, a complete electronic circuit built into one tiny slab of silica, invented by Jack Kilby in 1958, sliced the size of the central processors again by 90 percent.

Finally, Ted Hoff’s invention of the microprocessor (complete logic central processing computer) in 1969 shrank the central processor cabinet of a central computer to the size of a two-drawer file cabinet.

-291-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 336

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.