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Louis Serle (L.S.) Dederick was born in Chicago in 1883. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1909. From 1909 – 1917 he was a professor at Princeton University. From 1917 – 1924 he was professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1926 Dederick began working for the U.S. Army, Ordnance. During his time there he was the Associate Director of the Ballistic Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland where he focused on ballistics research.
While Dederick worked as a mathematician at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, he was involved with numerous projects. He worked in the fields of ballistics calculations, the development of computing methods for machines which included differential analyzers, the Bell Relay computer, oversaw the creation of the ENIAC computer (the world’s first digital computer), as well as its successors the EDVAC computer and the ORDVAC computer. These computers were designed with the goal of making ballistics calculations more quickly and efficiently. Some of his work on these projects included project management, administrative work, and search for personnel to add to project teams. His immediate supervisors while working at Aberdeen included Col. Leslie E. Simon and Col. Alden P. Taber. Dederick retired from this position in May 1953.
After his retirement he was pulled into efforts of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1954 to give statements on behalf of some of the workers he supervised who were being questioned about possible connections to communism. Dederick passed away in 1972. He is buried in Princeton Cemetery, located in Princeton, NJ.
This Collection consists mostly of documents from L.S. Dederick’s time at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. This Includes his work with the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, better known as the ENIAC, the world’s first digital computer, as well as the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer, known as the EDVAC. The ENIAC, completed in 1945, aided in allowing the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory to more easily perform ballistics calculations. It marks the beginning of the computer age.
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