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Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University President Martin Jischke and the Atanasoff-Berry Computer replica will be in Mason City, Monday, May 18. Jischke has several speaking engagements in Mason City, and the ABC replica will be on display at an alumni reception at the North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC).

At noon, President Jischke will speak to the Mason City Rotary, which will be meeting at the Prime & Wine restaurant. Jischke will discuss the role ISU plays in Iowa's economic development. At 1:15 p.m., Jischke will visit Mason City High School and speak to students.

The authentic working replica of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), the first electronic digital computer, will be on display from 5 to 8 p.m. at an ISU Alumni Association reception at the Muse-Norris Center at NIACC. The public is invited to the reception to view the replica.

The original ABC was invented by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State from 1939-42. Work on the original ABC was interrupted by World War II. The ABC was never patented and eventually scavenged for parts. The replica was built to honor Atanasoff and Berry. The replica was constructed over the past three years by a team of scientists, technicians and students at Ames Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility at Iowa State.

Mason City is the ninth stop on the replica's Iowa tour. It has been displayed in Ames, Ottumwa, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Spencer. Its formal unveiling was Oct. 8, 1997, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The ABC replica and the public displays are being financed by public and private donations as part of the ISU Foundation's $300 million capital campaign, Campaign Destiny.

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