John Mauchly grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In 1927 he got a scholarship to the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied engineering but soon switched to physics, earning his first degree. In 1932 he earned a doctorate and taught physics at various colleges. Mauchly, who had been a physics professor at Ursinus College near Philadelphia before beginning work on ENIAC, often zipped around his classroom on a homemade, jet-propelled skateboard in order to demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion. By 1940 his interests were drawn toward building computers, and in 1941 he attended an electronics course taught by John Eckert at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering. Eckert shared his passion for computers, and they became close friends.
After a widely accepted report Mauchly wrote on computing, he and Eckert teamed together to build the ENIAC. He would later form the Eckert-Mauchly Corporation with Eckert and they built some of the most famous of the early computing machines.
After leaving Eckert-Mauchly in 1950, he formed Mauchly Associates and served as president from 1959 to 1965. He was awarded the Harry M. Goode Memorial Award in 1966. He received numerous other accolades and awards and ran two companies until his death in 1980.