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Doctor Richard Daystrom was one of the most influential Human scientists of the 23rd century. Born in 2219, Daystrom was considered a genius in his day, and was compared to Albert Einstein, Kazanga, and Sitar of Vulcan. He was the inventor of the comptronic and duotronic computer systems.

A storied career[]

In 2243, at the age of twenty-four, Daystrom became known as a "boy wonder" after he made the duotronic breakthrough, which won him the Nobel and Zee-Magnees Prizes. However, he felt under-appreciated by his peers and successors, and resented them for developing improvements based on his work, while he was, in essence, left behind.

In response, he devoted his full vigor to the development of the multitronic computer system to create a successful artificial intelligence. This culminated in the M-5, a computer system sophisticated enough to smoothly control a starship by itself, possibly precluding the need for organic crews.


In 2268, he came aboard the USS Enterprise to perform a field test of the M-5. During the test run, the M-5 started displaying erratic and violent behavior. This included seizing control of nonessential systems, attacking a freighter, the Woden, without provocation, reacting to war games problems with other starships with full strength attacks, jeopardizing 1,600 lives, and resisting efforts to be disconnected.

It was revealed that Daystrom's programming of the system incorporated his own personality engrams as a model for the computer's personality, which included his psychological status. Unfortunately, Daystrom was mentally unstable and had a nervous breakdown aboard the Enterprise that required him to be subdued, while the M-5 was convinced that the deaths it caused required it to commit suicide. After the incident, Dr. Daystrom was committed to a mental rehabilitation facility in 2268. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")


Daystrom, library computer

Image of Daystrom in Enterprise-D computer

Daystrom's fallacy did not appear to have much impact on the esteem granted to him and his work. The Daystrom Institute, one of the most prominent Federation research centers, was named after him, as was the Daystrom Award. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man", "Eye of the Beholder")

A biography of Daystrom was present in the USS Enterprise-D's library computer, as was a photo of him. They were visible when Data was assimilating Dixon Hill novels in 2364. (TNG: "The Big Goodbye")

The illustration used as Daystrom's photo was from a FASA RPG module, The Federation.

See also[]


Background information[]

Richard Daystrom was played by William Marshall. He filmed his scenes between Thursday 7 December 1967 and Monday 11 December 1967, and on Wednesday 13 December 1967 and Thursday 14 December 1967 on Desilu Stage 9.

In the first draft script for The Ultimate Computer, he was called John Daystrom.

In an early draft of TNG: "Booby Trap", the character which became Leah Brahms was instead to have the surname "Daystrom", and she was to be Dr. Daystrom's great-great-granddaughter. The TNG casting department didn't realize this would call for a black actress to play the role until after Susan Gibney had been cast for the part. Although the character was thereafter renamed (at the suggestion of Script Coordinator Eric A. Stillwell), the Daystrom link was retained by referring to her as having graduated from the Daystrom Institute. (Star Trek Encyclopedia; [1])


Richard Daystrom appears in the novel The Rift by Peter David, as one of several Federation scientists who accompany Kirk on an embassy to a reclusive and advanced race, the Caligar. Daystrom confides that, although many consider his intellect to be undiminished, his confidence has deserted him, making him incapable of any new ideas. In an epilogue to the novel, however, Daystrom combines observations of the Caligar's technology with his previously discarded M-5 research, to produce the forerunner of the 24th century holodeck.

An entry about Richard Daystrom was included in Who's Who in Star Trek 1 from DC Comics, which cites his birthplace as Göteborg (also known as Gothenburg), Sweden and his education occurred in Stockholm where he became known as "The Boy Wonder" due to taking only six years to finish his primary and secondary levels of education.

FASA's RPG sourcebook The Federation claims he was born in New Orleans and that he has a son named Richard Daystrom II.

In the Last Unicorn Games RPG Starfleet Academy, Daystrom wrote a text titled Principles of Robotics. By the late 24th century, it became required reading for cadets taking Starfleet Academy's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course.

According to the Ship Construction Manual, Daystrom's father was named Randall L. Daystrom.

External link[]