EXHIBITS: The Man Behind the Mouse

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Science  12 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5664, pp. 1589b
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5664.1589b

Slide the cursor across a Web page and click on a highlighted word, and you've used two of Doug Engelbart's creations—the mouse and hyperlinks that direct users from one document to another. Engelbart didn't become a billionaire software mogul. But the California computer scientist's innovations while working at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s—which also include word processing, windows, and videoconferencing—transformed the way we interact with computers.

Learn more about Engelbart's work and ideas for the computer's future at Invisible Revolution, a growing exhibit by Frode Hegland, a Web designer and honorary research fellow at University College London, and his colleague Fleur Klijnsma. Stashed on the site are more than 5 hours of video and audio interviews with the 79-year-old Engelbart, former co-workers, and other computer worthies. For example, Engelbart explains how he got the idea for the mouse from a planimeter, a two-armed drafting instrument for measuring areas, and why he included “only” three buttons. He would have added more if there had been room.


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