Science: The Thinking Machine

(See Cover)

On Oxford Street in Cambridge, Mass. lives a sibyl, a priestess of science. Her devotees take their problems to her as devout ancient Greeks took their insolubles to Delphi. She is no mumbling, anonymous priestess, frothing her mouth with riddles. Her name is Bessie*; she is a long, slim, glass-sided machine with 760,000 parts, and the riddles that are put to her and that she unfailingly answers concern such matters as rocket motors, nuclear physics and trigonometric functions.

For a computing machine, Bessie is old: she has been steadily at work since...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!