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Bernard M. Oliver; Designed Hand-Held Calculator

Bernard M. Oliver, 79, designer of the hand-held calculator. Educated at Stanford and Caltech, Oliver joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York in 1940, initially working on developing quality television systems before turning to radar during World War II. In 1952, he joined fellow Stanford alumni William Hewlett and David Packard at their Palo Alto electronics company as director of research. He became a vice president and joined the Hewlett-Packard board five years later. Over four decades, Oliver garnered 50 patents for technological inventions but was best known for designing the hand-held calculator. The company introduced it to the public in the early 1970s, and the design later earned Oliver the National Medal of Science. In recent years, Oliver devoted himself to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence by use of radio telescopes at NASA’s Ames Research Center and later at the private SETI Institute in Mountain View. In Palo Alto, Oliver served on the school board and was a major supporter of the Los Altos Repertory Co. On Thursday in Los Altos Hills, Calif., of heart failure.


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