There are many inventors whose personal life is just subsumed into their projects. That’s Atanasoff. That why he had a happy life: not because he was or wasn’t recognized, but because the things he built turned out to be what he thought they were going to be.
— Jane Smiley, from her interview with Gary Wolf in the November 2010 issue of Wired.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist discusses the protagonist of her new book titled The Man Who Invented the Computer, a biography on John Vincent Atanasoff. The quotation above is a helpful reminder that curiosity and achievement is a joy in and of itself. To create something and be right (or maybe even fail?) is a reward that accumulates over time, even if it’s not measurable in external adulation.
(I would have linked to the article, but it’s not ready yet.)
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor