Abraham Stern

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Abraham Izrael Stern was born in 1769, in Hrubieszów, Poland, and died in 1842, in Warsaw. He was an apprentice at a clockmaker’s shop in Hrubieszów, when a Polish nobleman and scientist, Stanislaw Staszic, who bought the estate in 1800, noticed his extraordinary talent and helped him to move to Warsaw. In Warsaw, Stern worked on developing multiple inventions, among them a series of calculating machines. For his inventions, he was admitted to the Royal Warsaw Society of the Friends of Science (predecessor of the Polish Academy of Sciences), first as a corresponding member (February 9, 1817), then as a qualifying member (February 4, 1821), and finally as a full member (January 3, 1830). He presented his inventions multiple times at the Society’s meetings. He was also active in Hebrew writings and at the end of his life became the Rector of the School for the Rabbis (1826-35). He was the father-in-law of another inventor, Chaim Zelig Slonimski.

His major contribution to computing was an invention of a calculating machine for four operations and extracting roots in 1817. [1] [2] Stern’s inventions were known around the world, at the time of their development. In 1816, Stern demonstrated his machine to the Tzar Alexander I, during his visit in Warsaw. In the Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition, 1867, he is mentioned in Chapter XVIII “Metrology and Mechanical Calculation”: “The list of those who from time to time attempted the construction of calculating machines, properly so called, must be added the names of [a list of names follows] Abraham Stern, distinguished mathematician of Warsaw (1814), and probably many others.”


See also: Computing_and_cybernetics_in_CEE#Poland