On this day:
1815 – New Jersey grants the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
Col. John Stevens, III (June 26, 1749 – March 6, 1838) was an American lawyer, engineer, and inventor who constructed the first U.S. steam locomotive, first steam-powered ferry, and first U.S. commercial ferry service from his estate in Hoboken. He was influential in the creation of U.S. patent law.
Stevens was born June 26, 1749, in New York City, New York, the son of John Stevens, a prominent state politician who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, and Elizabeth Alexander, daughter of New York lawyer and statesman James Alexander. His sister, Mary Stevens (d. 1814), married Robert R. Livingston, the first Chancellor of the State of New York.
He graduated King’s College (which became Columbia University) in May 1768.
At age 27 he was appointed a Captain in Washington’s army, and was afterwards treasurer of New Jersey, and bought at public auction from the state of New Jersey land which had been confiscated from a Tory landowner. The land, described as “William Bayard’s farm at Hoebuck” comprised approximately what is now the city of Hoboken. Stevens built his estate at Castle Point, on land that would later become the site of Stevens Institute of Technology (bequeathed by his son Edwin Augustus Stevens).
In 1802 he built a screw-driven steamboat, and in 1806 he built the Phoenix, a steamboat that ultimately sailed from Hoboken to Philadelphia in 1809, thereby becoming the first steamship to successfully navigate the open ocean.
In October 1811, Stevens’ ship the Juliana began operation as the first steam-powered ferry (service was between New York, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey). The first railroad charter in the U.S. was given to Stevens and others in 1815 for the New Jersey Railroad. He designed and built a steam locomotive capable of hauling several passenger cars at his estate in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1825.The invention of the steam engine helped begin the modern railroads and trains. He also helped develop United States patent law.
1959 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files the first patent for an integrated circuit.
Jack St. Clair Kilby (November 8, 1923 – June 20, 2005) was an American electrical engineer who took part (along with Robert Noyce) in the realization of the first integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments (TI) in 1958. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on December 10, 2000. To congratulate him, US President Bill Clinton wrote, “You can take pride in the knowledge that your work will help to improve lives for generations to come.”
He is also the inventor of the handheld calculator and the thermal printer, for which he has patents. He also has patents for seven other inventions.
In mid-1958, Kilby, as a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments (TI), did not yet have the right to a summer vacation. He spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the “tyranny of numbers” and finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12 he presented his findings to management, which included Mark Shepherd. He showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and thus that he had solved the problem. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for “Miniaturized Electronic Circuits”, the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. Along with Robert Noyce (who independently made a similar circuit a few months later), Kilby is generally credited as co-inventor of the integrated circuit.
Jack Kilby went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of microchip technology. He headed teams that built both the first military system and the first computer incorporating integrated circuits. He later co-invented both the hand-held calculator and the thermal printer that was used in portable data terminals.
In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor. He explored, among other subjects, the use of silicon technology for generating electrical power from sunlight. From 1978 to 1984 he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University.
In 1983, Kilby retired from Texas Instruments.
Awards and honors
Recognition of Kilby’s outstanding achievements have been made by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), including the election to IEEE Fellow in 1966, the IEEE David Sarnoff Award in 1966, co-recipient of the first IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award in 1978, the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1986. He was co-recipient of the Franklin Institute’s Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1966. In 1982 and 1989, he received the Holley Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He was elected to member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1967, received the Academy’s Vladimir K. Zworykin Award in 1975, and was co-recipient of the first NAE’s Charles Stark Draper Prize in 1989. The Kilby Award Foundation was founded in 1980 in his honor.
He is also the recipient of the nation’s most prestigious honors in science and engineering: the National Medal of Science in 1969 and the National Medal of Technology in 1990. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
In 1993 he was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize by the Inamori Foundation. He was awarded both the Washington Award, administered by the Western Society of Engineers and the Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Award in 1999. In 2000, Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his breakthrough discovery, and delivered his personal view of the industry and its history in his acceptance speech.
Kilby was awarded nine honorary doctorate degrees from Universities including Southern Methodist University, the University of Miami, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Texas A&M University, Yale and Rochester Institute of Technology. The National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) in Taiwan awarded Kilby with a certificate of Honorary Professorship in 1998.
The Kilby Center, TI’s research center for silicon manufacturing, is named after him.
The Jack Kilby Computer Centre at the Merchiston Campus of Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh is also named in his honor.
U.S. Patent 2,892,130 Plug-in Circuit Units, filed December 1953, issued June 1959, assigned to Globe-Union, Inc.
U.S. Patent 3,072,832 Semiconductor Structure Fabrication, filed May 1959, issued January 1963
U.S. Patent 3,115,581 Miniature Semiconductor Integrated Circuit, filed May 1959, issued December 1963
U.S. Patent 3,138,721 Miniature Semiconductor Network Diode and Gate, filed May 1959, issued June 1964
U.S. Patent 3,138,743 Miniaturized Electronic Circuits, filed February 6, 1959, issued June, 1964
U.S. Patent 3,138,744 Miniaturized Self-contained Circuit Modules, filed May 1959, issued June 1964
U.S. Patent 3,435,516 Semiconductor Structure Fabrication, filed May 1959, issued April 1969
U.S. Patent 3,496,333 Thermal Printer, filed October 1965, issued February 1970
U.S. Patent 3,819,921 Miniature Electronic Calculator, originally filed September 1967, issued June 1974
Born on this day:
1465 – Scipione del Ferro, Italian mathematician and theorist (d. 1526)
Scipione del Ferro (6 February 1465 – 5 November 1526) was an Italian mathematician who first discovered a method to solve the depressed cubic equation.
Scipione del Ferro was born in Bologna, in northern Italy, to Floriano and Filippa Ferro. His father, Floriano, worked in the paper industry, which owed its existence to the invention of the press in the 1450s and which probably allowed Scipione to access various works during early stages of his life. He married and had a daughter, who was named Filippa after his mother.
He likely studied at the University of Bologna, where he was appointed a lecturer in Arithmetic and Geometry in 1496. During his last years, he also undertook commercial work.
Diffusion of his work
There are no surviving scripts from del Ferro. This is in large part due to his resistance to communicating his works. Instead of publishing his ideas, he would only show them to a small, select group of friends and students.
It is suspected that this is due to the practice of mathematicians at the time of publicly challenging one another. When a mathematician accepted another’s challenge, each mathematician needed to solve the other’s problems. The loser in a challenge often lost funding or his university position. Del Ferro was fearful of being challenged and likely kept his greatest work secret so that he could use it to defend himself in the event of a challenge.
Despite this secrecy, he had a notebook where he recorded all his important discoveries. After his death in 1526, this notebook was inherited by his son-in-law Hannival Nave, who was married to del Ferro’s daughter, Filippa. Nave was also a mathematician and a former student of del Ferro’s, and he replaced del Ferro at the University of Bologna after his death.
In 1543, Gerolamo Cardano and Ludovico Ferrari (one of Cardano’s students) travelled to Bologna to meet Nave and learn about his late father-in-law’s notebook, where the solution to the depressed cubic equation appeared.
Del Ferro also made other important contributions to the rationalization of fractions with denominators containing sums of cube roots.
He also investigated geometry problems with a compass set at a fixed angle, but little is known about his work in this area.
1748 – Adam Weishaupt, German philosopher and academic, founded the Illuminati (d. 1830)
Johann Adam Weishaupt (6 February 1748 – 18 November 1830) was a German philosopher and founder of the Order of the Illuminati, a secret society.
Adam Weishaupt was born on 6 February 1748 in Ingolstadt in the Electorate of Bavaria. Weishaupt’s father Johann Georg Weishaupt (1717–1753) died when Adam was five years old. After his father’s death he came under the tutelage of his godfather Johann Adam Freiherr von Ickstatt who, like his father, was a professor of law at the University of Ingolstadt. Ickstatt was a proponent of the philosophy of Christian Wolff and of the Enlightenment, and he influenced the young Weishaupt with his rationalism. Weishaupt began his formal education at age seven at a Jesuit school. He later enrolled at the University of Ingolstadt and graduated in 1768 at age 20 with a doctorate of law. In 1772 he became a professor of law. The following year he married Afra Sausenhofer of Eichstätt.
After Pope Clement XIV’s suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, Weishaupt became a professor of canon law, a position that was held exclusively by the Jesuits until that time. In 1775 Weishaupt was introduced to the empirical philosophy of Johann Georg Heinrich Feder of the University of Göttingen. Both Feder and Weishaupt would later become opponents of Kantian idealism.
At a time, however, when there was no end of making game of and abusing secret societies, I planned to make use of this human foible for a real and worthy goal, for the benefit of people. I wished to do what the heads of the ecclesiastical and secular authorities ought to have done by virtue of their offices …
On 1 May 1776 Johann Adam Weishaupt founded the “Illuminati” in the Electorate of Bavaria. He adopted the name of “Brother Spartacus” within the order. Even Encyclopedia references vary on the goal of the order, such as New Advent saying the Order was not egalitarian or democratic internally, and sought to promote the doctrines of equality and freedom throughout society; while others like Collier’s have said the aim was to combat religion and foster rationalism in its place.
The actual character of the society was an elaborate network of spies and counter-spies. Each isolated cell of initiates reported to a superior, whom they did not know: a party structure that was effectively adopted by some later groups.
Weishaupt was initiated into the Masonic Lodge “Theodor zum guten Rath”, at Munich in 1777. His project of “illumination, enlightening the understanding by the sun of reason, which will dispel the clouds of superstition and of prejudice” was an unwelcome reform. He used Freemasonry to recruit for his own quasi-masonic society, with the goal of “perfecting human nature” through re-education to achieve a communal state with nature, freed of government and organized religion. Presenting their own system as pure masonry, Weishaupt and Adolph Freiherr Knigge, who organised his ritual structure, greatly expanded the secret organisation.
Contrary to Immanuel Kant’s famous dictum that Enlightenment (and Weishaupt’s Order was in some respects an expression of the Enlightenment Movement) was the passage by man out of his ‘self-imposed immaturity’ through daring to ‘make use of his own reason, without the guidance of another,’ Weishaupt’s Order of Illuminati prescribed in great detail everything which the members had obediently to read and think, so that Dr. Wolfgang Riedel has commented that this approach to illumination or enlightenment constituted a degradation and twisting of the Kantian principle of Enlightenment. Riedel writes: ‘The independence of thought and judgement required by Kant … was specifically prevented by the Order of the Illuminati’s rules and regulations. Enlightenment takes place here, if it takes place at all, precisely under the direction of another, namely under that of the “Superiors” [of the Order].
Weishaupt’s radical rationalism and vocabulary were not likely to succeed. Writings that were intercepted in 1784 were interpreted as seditious, and the Society was banned by the government of Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, in 1784. Weishaupt lost his position at the University of Ingolstadt and fled Bavaria.
This article is about the secret society. For the film, see Illuminata (film). For the Muslim esoteric school, see Illuminationism. For the conspiracy theory, see New World Order (conspiracy theory). For other uses, see Illuminati (disambiguation).
Adam Weishaupt (1748–1830), founder of the Bavarian Illuminati
The Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, “enlightened”) is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776. The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power. “The order of the day,” they wrote in their general statutes, “is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them”. The Illuminati—along with Freemasonry and other secret societies—were outlawed through edict, by the Bavarian ruler, Charles Theodore, with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787 and 1790. In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution.
Many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, who was the Order’s second-in-command. It attracted literary men such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder and the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar.
In subsequent use, “Illuminati” refers to various organisations which claim or are purported to have links to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies, though these links are unsubstantiated. They are often alleged to conspire to control world affairs, by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power and influence and to establish a New World Order. Central to some of the most widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, films, television shows, comics, video games, and music videos.