Official recognition of John Vincent Atanasoff's
achievement came slowly - several decades after he and Clifford Berry
built the first electronic digital computer. However, before his death
in 1995, he received significant honors and awards for his invention.
In a formal opinion distributed on October
19, 1973, U.S. District Judge Earl R. Larson ruled that Atanasoff
and Berry had constructed the first electronic digital computer at
Iowa State University in the 1939 - 1942 period. This recognition
came at the end of a lengthy federal trial in which the patent for
the electronic digital computer, held by John Mauchly and J. Presper
Eckert, was overturned.
In recognition of his achievement, Atanasoff
received numerous honors and awards, including: the Order of Cyril
and Methodius, First Class, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Bulgaria's
highest honor accorded a scientist); Iowa Inventors Hall of Fame;
Plaque, Iowa State University Physics Building; Honorary Membership,
Society for Computer Medicine; Doctor of Science, Moravian College;
Distinguished Achievement Citation, Iowa State University Alumni Association;
Doctor of Science, Western Maryland College; and National Medal of
Technology presented by President George Bush in a Ceremony at the
White House on November 13, 1990.
The basic principles of digital computing, conceived by Dr.
John Vincent Atanasoff and first realized in his Atanasoff-Berry Computer
(ABC) opened the door for the emergence of the Informational Age.
Professor Arthur Oldehoeft, chair of the Computer Science Department
at Iowa State University
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