“This is the first time a woman has ever given a presentation in this room,” Grace Hopper was once told at the Pentagon, as she was escorted to a meeting with the Secretary of the Navy. As one of the highest-ranking females ever to serve in the Navy, she was a rarity. But not as rare a bird as an octogenarian in the computer industry, another distinction she would hold.
Hopper, Grace Murray
AFTER THE UNITED STATES ENTERED WORLD WAR II, PROFESSOR Grace Hopper joined the Navy. She was too light to get in, missing the minimum weight for her height by 16 pounds, but she received a dispensation. She could have received another dispensation to relieve her from basic training, because the Navy was interested only in using her mind, not in making her into a sailor.
Society: SWEMain Category: Women in EngineeringSub Category: ComputingEra: 1950-1959DateCreated: 1959 UniversityLock HavenState: PAZip: 17745Country: USACreator: Hopper, Grace Murray
Image Credit: Courtesy of Smithsonian InstituteEra_date_from: 1959
A curious child who dissembled the clocks in her parent's home, Grace Hopper graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in mathematics and physics. She continued her education at Yale University by completing a masters and Ph.D. in mathematics. She then returned to Vassar to teach. During World War II, Hopper joined the Navy and was sworn into the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943. After training, she was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to the Bureau of Ordinance Computation Project at Harvard University. She became the third person to program the Harvard Mark I computer.