20th Century: 1956

Werner Buchholz (24 October 1922 – 11 July 2019) was a German-American computer scientist. After growing up in Europe, Buchholz moved to Canada and then to the United States of America. He worked for International Business Machines (IBM) in New York. In June 1956, he coined the term “byte” for a unit of digital information. In 1990, he was recognized as a computer pioneer by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

On September 13, 1956, the IBM 305 RAMAC was the first computer to be shipped with a hard drive. The drive contained 50 24-inch platters, was the size of two refrigerators, and weighed a ton. It could store only five megabytes of information, and each megabyte cost $10,000.

The programming language FORTRAN was introduced to the public on October 15, 1956.

Dr. Robert Adler of Zenith invented the first cordless TV remote control.

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on the transistor.

Wen Tsing Chow develops programmable read-only memory (PROM).

“I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processings is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
– The editor in charge of business books for Prentice-Hall, 1956

The first broadcast of The Edge of Night, As the World Turns, The Price Is Right, Playhouse 90, the Eurovision Song Contest, and Hancock’s Half Hour.

Top Film of 1956:

 

Top song of 1956: