Computer History Museum to Feature an Evening Tracing Cold War Spying, Intrigue and the Origins of a Soviet Computer technology Hub
Event co-hosted by the US-Russia Technology Symposium examines for the first-time ever the story documenting Soviet technology developments associated with members of the legendary Rosenberg spy ring
October 21, 2005 — Mountain View, CaliforniaThe Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., as part of its Odysseys In Technology Series, sponsored by Sun Labs, will present The Origins of Zelenograd: The Amazing Story Of Two U.S. Engineers In Cold War Russia with Steve Usdin, author of Engineering Communism. Joining Usdin on stage will be Dr. Alexander Galitsky, former president and general manager of the Soviet Space Agency, NPO ELAS. Usdin and Galitsky will discuss various aspects of how the high-tech industry began in the former Soviet Union and how it continues to evolve today. The presentation begins at 7 p.m., Monday, November 7, at the Computer History Museum's Hahn Auditorium, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. The evening gathering is being co-presented by the US-Russia Technology Symposium. For presentation reservations, please visit, www.computerhistory.org/events.
Usdin's new book, Engineering Communism, is the story of Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, dedicated Communists and members of the Rosenberg spy ring, who stole information from the United States during World War II. Barr and Sarant were two friends of Julius Rosenberg and appeared to have disappeared in 1950. It has taken almost half a century, but Usdin has finally told the story of the two men recruited by Rosenberg to be Soviet spies and how they evaded the FBI and escaped to carry on their work on behalf of the Soviet state. Once in Russia, the two Americans set out to prove to the Soviets that microelectronics was the future, and that computers would be based on solid state electronics, a concept at odds with the existing Soviet science. With Khrushchev's support, they built Zelenograd, a new city near Moscow, composed of research institutions and production plants that would develop integrated circuits. It became a state sponsored version of America's Silicon Valley. The military computers they created are still used today in Russian, Chinese and Indian navies.
Based on his close relationship with Barr, who is now deceased, extensive interviews and declassified documents from U.S. and Soviet bloc intelligence agencies, Usdin will discuss how he uncovered both the strategic and personal dimensions of a story that reaches beyond spying and technology to reveal enduring romances and secret lives. Usdin will also discuss how Barr returned to California's Silicon Valley, reconciled with his and Sarant's Russian and American families.
Usdin is a senior editor at BioCentury Publications. Based in Washington, D.C., he is responsible for covering issues at the intersection of public policy, science and politics, ranging from stem cells and cloning to drug safety and the impact of public policy on innovation. He has written hundreds of articles on biomedical policy, nuclear non-proliferation, national security and other topics for science and technology publications, including New Scientist, Datamation, Far Eastern Economic Review, Energy Daily and New Technology Week, as well as academic journals.
Galitsky, as former president and general manager of the Soviet Space Agency (NPO ELAS), was one of the top technical executives responsible for the design and implementation of satellite and spacecraft software, as well as computer and data communication systems for the Soviet defense industry. He was the youngest national program leader for national programs like on-board computer systems and low-orbit data communication system of the Soviet "Star Wars" response. Galitsky has worked in Zelenograd and now lives in Europe.
"We are very excited to be hosting this event and look forward to presenting this discussion of computing history that has received very little attention in the past," said John Toole, executive director and CEO, Computer History Museum. "Covering advances in computing technology framed around the topics of the Cold War, espionage, covert operations and ideological alliances, this presentation will be as intriguing as a Bond film - with the one major exception: this is nonfiction."
Odysseys in Technology, The Computer History Museum Speaker Series Sponsored by Sun Microsystems Laboratories, presents people and perspectives behind extraordinary innovations and advancements in the computer technology-related world. Each event in the Series provides stimulating interaction with authentic experts whose achievements have transformed how things are done or viewed, and examines how their personal stories might inform the present and future. These programs occasionally feature technologies or point events, with the objective to apply lessons of history to present day understanding and inspiration. Reservations are recommended to attend the Odysseys In Technology events. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10. The Odysseys In Technology lectures start promptly at 7:00 p.m. A reception is held at 6:00 p.m. for Computer History Museum members. For more information, please visit www.computerhistory.org/events.
About the Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, a public benefit organization with a 25-year history as part of the former Boston Computer Museum, preserves and presents for posterity the artifacts and stories of the information age. The Museum is dedicated to exploring the social impact of computing and is home to the world's largest collection of computing-related items -- from hardware (mainframes, PCs, handhelds, integrated circuits), to software, to computer graphics systems, to the Internet and networking -- and contains many rare objects such as the Cray-1 supercomputer, the Apple I, the WWII ENIGMA, the PalmPilot prototype, and the 1969 Honeywell "Kitchen Computer." The collection also includes photos, films, videos, documents, publications, and advertising and marketing materials. Currently in its first phase, the Museum brings computing history to life through its popular speaker series, seminars, oral histories and workshops. The Museum also offers self-guided and docent-led tours of Visible Storage, where nearly 600 objects from the collection are on display. A new exhibit, "Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess," opened in September 2005. Please check the Web site for open hours. Future phases will feature full museum exhibits and educational programs, including a timeline of computing history, theme galleries, a research center, and much more. For more information, please visit www.computerhistory.org or call 650.810.1010.
About the U.S.-Russia Technology Symposium
Founded in 2004 to cultivate a transatlantic network of businesspeople and policymakers interested in Russian technology, the U.S.-Russia Technology Symposium has established itself as the West Coast's premier investor conference on Russia. Conceived in response to Silicon Valley's interest in international investing and Russia's desire to diversify its economy beyond oil and gas, the Symposium has since broadened its focus to the changes affecting the world economy today. With instantaneous worldwide communication, businesses must learn to operate globally to survive. The Symposium will take place February 9 & 10, 2006 at Stanford University. Please visit, www.usrts.org.