Past Member

Herman Heine Goldstine

Historical Studies

From Computer Pioneers:

Herman H. Goldstine began his scientific career as a mathematician and had a life-long interest in the interaction of mathematical ideas and technology. He received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1936 and was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan when he entered the Army in 1941. After participating in the development of the first electronic computer (ENIAC), he left the Army in 1945, and from 1946 to 1957 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), where he collaborated with John von Neumann in a series of scientific papers on subjects related to their work on the Institute computer. In 1958 he joined IBM Corporation as a member of the research planning staff. He was director of mathematical sciences at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, 1958-1965; director of scientific development of the data processing division, 1965-1967; and consultant to the director of research, 1967-1969. In 1969 he was appointed as an IBM fellow. He wrote his book on the history of computing in 1972, primarily to highlight John von Neumann's contributions. Goldstine claimed that he introduced John von Neumann to the existence of the ENIAC in a chance meeting which took place on the railroad station platform in Philadelphia in the summer of 1944, although as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ballistics Research Laboratories, von Neumann probably should have known of the contract with the University of Pennsylvania. Goldstine has been highly supportive of the claims attributed to von Neumann of the invention of the "stored program concept."

At the founding of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., Goldstine contributed his archives to the school. This is said to include a handwritten copy of the First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC by von Neumann.

Lee, J.A.N. "Herman Heine Goldstine," (1995)

Dates at IAS
  • Historical Studies
  • Natural Sciences
Permanent Member
  • Electronic Computer Project
Permanent Member
  • Mathematics / Natural Sciences
  • Electronic Computer Project
University of Chicago Ph.D., 1936
DSc (hc) Amherst College and Adelphi Univ 1978
PhD (hc) Univ of Lund (Sweden) 1974
NAS 1974
Prof Achievement Award Univ of Chicago 1974
Finalist, National Book Award in Science 1973
Science Award PBK 1973