John von Neumann and his high-speed computer, circa 1952, courtesy Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

Development of the two most powerful technologies of the 20th century – the nuclear bomb and the computer – began in New Mexico at the same time and by the same group of young people. But while the history of the Manhattan Project has been well told, the origin of the computer is relatively unknown.

In an SFI Community Lecture on Wednesday evening, November 6, in Santa Fe, historian George Dyson (who grew up among these proto-hackers in Princeton, New Jersey) told the story of how Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and a small band of other geniuses not only built the computer but foresaw the new world it would create.

Watch Dyson's talk (77 minutes)

Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican (November 5, 2013)

Dyson is a historian of technology whose writing covers the evolution of technology in relation to the physical environment and the direction of society. He is author of the book Turing's Cathedral.

SFI’s 2013 Community Lecture series is made possible through the generous support of Los Alamos National Bank.

This was the final lecture in the 2013 SFI Community Lecture series. 

For a complete listing of upcoming SFI community events, visit here.