• Jan 1, 1939
    (b.) -
    Jan 1, 1986
    (d.)

Bio/Description

Best known as an inventor of the pocket calculator and an early employee of Apple Computer. He graduated from Aurelia High School in Aurelia, Iowa in 1957. He completed his B.S. degree in 1961, his M.S. degree in 1962 and received his PhD in 1964; all in Electrical Engineering at Iowa State University, where he was a member of Acacia fraternity. He joined Hewlett-Packard in 1967, where he led a team of engineers that invented the HP-35, the world's first handheld scientific electronic calculator. Named for its 35 buttons, the HP 35 was the first pocket calculator able to perform trigonometric functions. Before the HP 35, handheld calculators were only capable of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. During his years at HP, he was also a lecturer at Santa Clara University. In 1978, he joined Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as one of the earliest employees (#15) of Apple Computer. He served as the Executive Vice President for Engineering; working alongside Jobs and Jef Raskin. He helped to develop the Apple II, the world’s first accessible and highly successful personal computer. After his Apple years, he became an entrepreneur himself in 1981, launching several companies in Silicon Valley, California. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the ISU Alumni Association, as well as a recipient of the Professional Achievement Citation from the Iowa State University College of Engineering. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 47. His wife, Donna, has become active with Iowa State after her husband’s death. She established the Thomas M. Whitney Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a program that supports Iowa State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s research, prominently in regards to nondestructive evaluation and solar energy research.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jan 1, 1939
  • Date of Death:

    Jan 1, 1986
  • Noted For:

    Leader of the team that invented the world’s first scientific handheld calculator and early contributor to the development of the Apple Macintosh
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: