If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.
— Isaac Newton
Much of the short history of computers can be traced through the lives of some of the geniuses of the field. The development of the computer science field is different from the development of many other fields of science in that we did not realize at first how necessary it would be. In comparison, the development of medical science has been urgent for our survival from the beginning. The development of agriculture was similarly urgent for mankind's development. Yet, we went without computers for the vast majority of our time here on earth. Now that we have come to see how the computer can create models, compute maths and facilitate communication, we are starting to see how this one tool will expedite the development of almost every other scientific field we know or can imagine.
It would take the irritable genius of Charles Babbage to even give us a glimmer of the potential of the first computers. Even that bright glimmer was barely noticed at the time. Now that so much of our world is illuminated by computer technology, we can scarcely believe we existed without it before. What is most interesting about the development of the computer as we know it is: what sort of geniuses imagined, in what must have seemed like wild dreams, that the computer could be the tool it has become?
This web quest is an exploration of the various people who had those dreams, and who brought us to the quickly accelerating future we live in now.