Bob Metcalfe Gave Birth to the Ethernet 40 Years Ago

MetcalfeForty years ago today (May 22, 1973), twenty-seven-year-old Bob Metcalfe turned on his IBM Selectric, “pulled out a wad of Ko-Rec-Type, snapped on an Orator ball, and banged out the memo inventing Ethernet,” as he recalled in Internet Collapsesat Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).  Metcalfe explained to Scott Kirsner years later in a Wired interview: “That is the first time ethernet appears as a word, as does the idea of using coax as ether, where the participating stations, like in AlohaNet or Arpanet, would inject their packets of data, they’d travel around at megabits per second, there would be collisions, and retransmissions, and back-off.” ethernet_whiteBoardXerox

Today, Metcalfe is Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas at Austin and hundreds of millions of Ethernet ports are shipped annually (counting WiFi).

Live streaming of the Ethernet 40th anniversary celebration May 22 & May 23, 2013 here

See also Bob Metcalfe, October 2009Bob Metcalfe, May 2011This Day in Information: Ethernet PatentFirst Internet Domain Name and a New Era for ITVC65: Funding Innovation.

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