Professor George Forsythe

Previous item Floor down floor 1 Next item Floor Up All the way back

Professor George Forsythe, Founder and First Chairman of the Stanford CSD

Display of Forsythe PhD student's names in front of Polya Hall

Polya Hall was first location of CSD. It is now used for computation center offices.
Prof. Forsythe coined the term "Computer Science" in 1961:

    ... Enough is known already of the diverse applications of computing to recognize the birth of a coherent body of technique, which I call computer science ... Whether computers are used for engineering design, medical data processing, composing music, or other purposes, the structure of computing is much the same ... "

We also display a picture of Mrs. Forsythe, talking to one of the students (Margaret Wright?).
On this web page we show also the directory of the Numerical Analysis Group, after the group moved to Serra House and an adjoining trailer (T) for the academic year 1977-78. Most of the students are now faculty at other universities. Serra House has since been moved to another spot on campus to make space for the heating plant.
[Photo courtesy of Chuck Romine (a grandstudent of Prof. Forsythe) and Mike Heath (a student of Prof. Golub].
The list of Forsythe's students, and their students, is available at
A list of Golub's students, and their students, is also available at
There are several other trees, most still under construction.

Lightning Calculator [Forsythe] (~1950)

The 7 digit calculator shown here was owned by Prof. Forsythe. It is derived from Blaise Pascal's Pascaline, designed in 1642. Addition is performed by inserting a stylus [gio] into the hole of one of the digit wheels, corresponding to the digit value to be added, and turning the wheel to a stop, much like a rotary telephone. The wheels have a carry mechanism to the next digit position.
Lightning calculators were produced in Los Angeles, CA since 1908. The model shown is a late model, and features a lever on the left-hand side that allows the totals to be reset to zero.

Previous item Floor down Next item Floor Up All the way back