January 30, 1925 in Portland, Oregon
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Oregon State University (1948); M.S. in Electrical Engineering with a specialty in Computers, University of California at Berkeley (1953); Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a specialty in Computers, University of California at Berkeley (1955).
US Navy, electronic/radar technician, WW II (1944-46); Electrical engineer, NACA Ames Laboratory, Mountain View, California (now NASA) (1948-51); Assistant Professor, electrical engineering, University of California at Berkeley (1955-56); Researcher, Stanford Research Institute (1957-59); Director, Augmentation Research Center, Stanford Research Institute (1959-77); Senior Scientist, Tymshare, Inc., Cupertino, California (1977-84); Senior Scientist, McDonnell Douglas Corporation ISG, San Jose, California (1984-89); Director, Bootstrap Project, Stanford University (1989-90); Director, Bootstrap Institute & Bootstrap Alliance (now DEI), Menlo Park, California (1990-2008).
Over forty awards and honors, including: American Ingenuity Award (1991); IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (1993); Honorary Doctorate, Oregon State University (1994); Lemelson-MIT Prize (1997); ACM A.M. Turing Award (1997); ACM-CHI Lifetime Achievement Award (1998); IEEE John Von Neumann Medal Award (1999); USA National Medal of Technology (2000); Honorary Doctorate, Santa Clara University (2001); British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal (2001); Norbert Wiener Award for Professional and Social Responsibility (2005).
The first error people make about Doug Engelbart is to confuse him with a computer scientist. He is not a computer scientist, but an engineer by training and an inventor by choice. His numerous technological innovations (including the computer mouse, hypertext, and the split screen interface) were crucial to the development of personal computing and the Internet. His work helped to change the way computers work, from specialized machinery that only trained technicians could use, to a medium designed to augment the intelligence of its users and foster their collaboration. In every text, conference talk, and media appearance for the past fifty years, this stubborn man, this hopeful man, has constantly repeated the same thing:
As human matters are getting increasingly complex and urgent, long terms solution will more likely come through the development of more powerful problem solving tools than through piecemeal solutions on specific problems.
Attempting to solve these ever more complex/urgent problems with the help of computer hardware and software has been the story of Douglas Engelbart’s professional life, his “crusade”.
Douglas C. Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1925, the second of three children of a couple of Scandinavian and German descent. His father was an electrical engineer who owned a radio shop until he died (when Douglas was nine years old). He graduated from high school in 1942, and went on to study Electrical Engineering at Oregon State University, where he was trained as a radar technician, before he was drafted into the military in 1944. The radar training proved to be central for the rest of his career, and first triggered an absolute fascination in his young mind. He was in the Navy from 1944 to 1946, and was stationed for a year at the Philippines Sea Frontier, in the Manila bay. During that year he read Vannevar Bush's As We May Think article—a crucial influence on his later work. After the war, he went back to university