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Mathematician and Computer Scientist Grace Hopper

Have you ever taken something apart to see how it works? As a child, Grace Hopper took apart five alarm clocks in a row, trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together. As an adult, she joined the Naval Reserve during World War II and worked on the world's first large-scale computer. After the war, Hopper served on a committee organized by the Department of Defense to create a standard computer language. That language, Common Business-Oriented Language, or COBOL, quickly became popular. How did a curious little girl grow up to become the "Grandmother of COBOL"? Learn how her outstanding innovations changed the field of computer programming.

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Grace Hopper

When grace Hooper retired as a rear admiral from the U.S. Navy in 1986, she was the first woman restricted line officer to reach flag rank and, at the age of seventy-nine, the oldest serving officer in the Navy. A mathematician by training who became a computer scientist, the eccentric and outspoken Hoper helped propel the Navy into the computer age. She also was a superb publicist for the Navy, appearing frequently on radio and television and quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines. Yet in spite of all the attention she received, until now "Amazing Grace," as she was called, has never been the subject of a full biography. Kathleen Broome Williams looks at Hooper's entire naval career, from the time she joined the Waves and was sent in 1943 to work on the Mark 1 computer at Harvard, where she became one of the country's first computer programmers. Thanks to this early Navy introduction to computing, the author explains, Hooper had a distinguished civilian career in commercial computing after the war, gaining fame for her part in the creation of COBOL. The admiral's Navy days were far from over, however, and Williams tells how Hopper--already past retirement age--was recalled to active duty at the Pentagon in 1967 to standardize computer-programming languages for Navy computers. Her temporary appointment lasted for nineteen years while she standardized COBOL for the entire department of defense. Based on extensive interviews with colleague and family and on archival material never before examined, this biography not only illuminates Hopper's pioneering accomplishments in a field that came to be dominated by men, but provides a fascinating overview of computing from its beginnings inWorld War II to the late 1980s.

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Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age

A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906--1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper's later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story. In Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age, Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper's greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.

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Computer Scientist Jean Bartik

Do you love solving problems with mathematics? So did groundbreaking computer programmer Jean Bartik. She turned her passion for math into a successful career in what was then a brand-new field. During World War II, women took on more technology jobs as men joined the armed forces. Bartik started her career doing mathematical calculations for top-secret weapons systems projects. After the war, a new machine took over these calculations. It was the first all-electronic computer, and Bartik helped build and program it. But how did Bartik's interest in mathematics take her to the forefront of cutting-edge technology? Find out how she went from gifted student to software pioneer.

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A to Z of Computer Scientists

Profiles more than 100 scientists from around the world who made important contributions to the study of computer science, including Howard Aiken, Steve Case, Steve Jobs, and Ted Nelson.

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Masters of Mathematics

The original title for this work was “Mathematical Literacy, What Is It and Why You Need it”. The current title reflects that there can be no real learning in any subject, unless questions of who, what, when, where, why and how are raised in the minds of the learners. The book is not a mathematical text, and there are no assigned exercises or exams. It is written for reasonably intelligent and curious individuals, both those who value mathematics, aware of its many important applications and others who have been inappropriately exposed to mathematics, leading to indifference to the subject, fear and even loathing. These feelings are all consequences of meaningless presentations, drill, rote learning and being lost as the purpose of what is being studied. Mathematics education needs a radical reform. There is more than one way to accomplish this. Here the author presents his approach of wrapping mathematical ideas in a story. To learn one first must develop an interest in a problem and the curiosity to find how masters of mathematics have solved them. What is necessary to be mathematically literate? It’s not about solving algebraic equations or even making a geometric proof. These are valuable skills but not evidence of literacy. We often seek answers but learning to ask pertinent questions is the road to mathematical literacy. Here is the good news: new mathematical ideas have a way of finding applications. This is known as “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.”

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Grace Brewster Murray Hopper

Features a biographical sketch of the American admiral and computer scientist Grace Hopper (1906-1992), presented by the School of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland. Discusses Hopper's pioneering work in computer science.

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American Women Scientists

Provides profiles of women who made significant achievements in a variety of scientific fields, including nuclear physics, chemistry, medicine, psychiatry, and cytogenetics.

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NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

"Katherine Johnson overcame many barriers to become a NASA mathematician. As an African American woman, she had to work hard to earn respect. Learn how Johnson broke barriers and helped to send astronauts to the moon."