John G. Brainerd

1904 - 1988



Born August 7, 1904 in Philadelphia, PA, John G. Brainerd had a quite childhood.  He completed high school and enrolled in University of Pennsylvania.  While a student there, Brainerd made money as a reporter for the "North American," a Philadelphia newspaper. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1925, staying on at the University of Pennsylvania as an instructor in the Department of Electrical Engineering.  Brainerd published a few papers and received a. Sc.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934.  In 1942 Brainerd became the Professor and Chairman, Division of Physical Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1942.  In 1954 he assumed the directorship of  the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

The differential analyzer at the Moore School saw heavy use during World War II for ballistic computations.  Brainerd anticipated that demand would exceed the the school's resources and undertook the job of overseeing the development the next generation of computer for the Moore School.  The end product, too late for the war effort was ENIAC, Electronic Integrator and Calculator, the world's first large-scale electronic digital computer. Brainerd would also supervise the development of an Automatic Data Retrieval System for the Signal Corps' project of creating what was then the largest interconnected computer system yet conceived.

Brainerd was also considered an excellent teacher.  In 1953 he created the graduate program in Systems Engineering at the Moore School.  Brainerd was awarded the 1975 IEEE Founders Medal “For his leadership in electronics in fields encompassing computer technology, high frequency techniques, engineering education, and national and international electrical standardization.”
On February 1st 1988 Dr. John Brainerd passed away.




Rutgers IEEE Virtual Museum Article on Brainard


University of Pennsylvannia ENIAC Article