Last month, Raspberry Pi co-founders Liz and Eben Upton took a trip to The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) in Bletchley (home of the codebreakers) because TNMOC thinks they’re both really rather good.
A lasting contribution
Liz and Eben received Honorary Fellowships acknowledging “outstanding individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to the fields of computing and technology.”
They had to stand up and talk about themselves. For ages. Which they hate. But it went terribly well and everyone in the audience seemed to agree with TNMOC that they are really rather good.
A computer to capture the imagination
Eben described how frustrating it was in the early 2000s when the number of computer science applicants to the University of Cambridge, where he worked, was declining, and students coming through with good enough programming skills were in danger of becoming extinct. He wanted to create a computer of the kind that had inspired him back in the 1980s — namely, the BBC Micro — so he set about designing the first Raspberry Pi, in the hope of selling as many as 10,000 units if things went really well. Almost eleven years later, we’ve sold around 50 million.
A wonderful worldwide community
Liz explained how she grew the huge global Raspberry Pi community from the ground up, documenting every step of the prototyping process on our blog and keeping in touch with hobbyists and industrial users as they got to know Raspberry Pi and what it was capable of. It’s thanks to that outreach that 300,000 young people around the world have access to weekly coding clubs run by volunteers who are as passionate about computing as we are, and that businesses and hobbyists alike can draw on a huge global community of expertise when they develop new applications and projects with Raspberry Pi.
We are trained to say nice things about them, but you don’t have to just take our word for it this time. Here is what TNMOC director Jacqui Garrad said:
“What Eben and Liz Upton have achieved is remarkable. Their success in engaging young people in the world of technology makes them the perfect honorary fellows for The National Museum of Computing. Eben and Liz Upton represent the best parts of computing and community organising. With accessibility and community at the heart of everything they have achieved, TNMOC is delighted to be able to welcome them into our community – one that shares the values they embody. We are over the moon to have their expertise and experience on board, and we look forward to growing our educational offering with their help.”