Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: August 22, 2014
RCA Selectron memory tube

August 10, 1911

Computer Inventor Rajchman Born

Jan Rajchman, who made many important contributions to electronic computing hardware, is born in England. After earning a degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Rajchman took a job with RCA, where he began work with Vladimir Zworykin on an electron multiplier. He is probably the inventor of the scintillation counter, a device widely used in physics research, and consulted at the Moore School (University of Pennsylvania) working with ENIAC inventors Eckert and Mauchly while there. One of his most interesting (though commercially impractical) inventions was the "Selectron" tube memory shown here, a device he invented for John von Neumann's IAS computer project at Princeton and used, for a brief time, on the Johnniac machine at RAND.

Rajchman became director of RCA's Computer Laboratory until the company left the business, spent a year at UC Berkeley, and then became a private industry consultant.

Rajchman died April 1, 1989.