Lee Copeland was in town for CAST last week, so I took the opportunity to beg him to give a talk at Microsoft. He gave his talk on The Nine Forgettings (powerpass required for the stickyminds download - video and slides are available internally to employees). I like Lee, and I think his book is something all new testers should read. As expected, his talk was popular, and people didn't walk away disappointed.
The premise of the talk was that Lee feels that there are several things many testers forget - things they shouldn't forget if they would like continued success. One of those "forgettings" was about where we came from. Who were some of the first thought leaders in testing? Who were the pioneers in the field who defined much of the basis for what we do today?
Lee showed a slide with faces of six early pioneers in testing related areas and asked how many we could identify. Although as it turns out, I knew who all six were, I only recognized two faces (not that face recognition is one of the forgettings). The point is that most testers had only heard of one or two of these folks at most. These six aren't the definitive list, but it's a good list, and reflects a wide variety of approaches to testing and (true) quality assurance.
I won't list the names yet...but feel free to share your thoughts on anyone you think defined the beginnings of software testing.