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C. Gordon Bell, Who Designed The World’s First Microcomputer, Dies At 89

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Electrical engineer Chester Gordon Bell, best known for designing the world’s first minicomputer that played a significant role in the technological revolution bringing televisions into American homes, passed away this week at the age of 89 after battling aspiration pneumonia.

Bell began working with technology at an early age by assisting his family business, Bell Electric, which specialized in repairing appliances.

Chester was born on August 19, 1934, in Kirksville, Missouri. After graduating from high school, Bell attended MIT, where he earned his degree. After graduating, Bell started working for Digital Equipment Corporation, where he designed the revolutionary new minicomputer.

At that time, computers were still massive devices that would fill entire rooms. However, following the creation of the minicomputer, now-common household devices like laptops and televisions became possible.

In the 1990s, Bell began working at Microsoft as a senior advisor. Also, at various times throughout his career, Chester worked as a professor, teaching at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

Eventually, in 1992, Bell became the inaugural recipient of the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, as well as the Presidential Medal of Technology awarded by President George H.W. Bush. Bell is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others.

Chester also co-authored more than five books on computer design.

Tributes to Bell have flooded social media following the news of his passing.

Rest in peace!

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