Women Technologists Who Changed The World
We frequently observe how the first programmers were either machines or men, and how they helped to shape the society we live in today. Last but not least, we must remember that women contributed to several programming languages and aided in the transformation of a male-dominated field of technology. Women's contributions to technology are sometimes overlooked or unheard of, thus here are some of the most well-known women technologists:
Karen Sparck Jones
Karen Jones was born in 1935 and died in 2007. She attended Grinton College in Cambridgeshire from 1953 to 1956, where she studied history and philosophy. She began working on information retrieval (IR) in the 1960s and created the IDF term weighting, which is now used by modern systems like web search engines. She was a key figure in establishing standards for most of the work in natural language processing (NPL) in the United States and elsewhere. She taught NPL and IR to a large number of PhD students in computer voice and language. She is well-known for her work on the IR and for coining the term IDF to generate natural language for the search engines we use every day.
Katherine Johnson was born in West Virginia in 1918 and was one of only three black students to enter the state's graduate institution. She graduated from the State School with a B.S. in Mathematics and French in 1937. After getting married and starting a family, a cousin notified her about unfilled opportunities at the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory's all-black computing section. The launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik changed history and Kathrine Johnson's life since she was the one who manually ran the identical equations on her desktop that the machine ran to confirm that they were safe to fly before take-off. This was a huge responsibility for Kathrine because the astronauts' lives were in her hands and they wouldn't be able to take off until she gave them the signal. The mission was a success, and it marked a turning point in the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Kathrine is well-known for this event, and she is one of the most well-known women in technology for co-authoring 26 research reports that provide machine-readable mathematical equations.
Ada Lovelace was born in London in 1815 and died in 1852. She was homeschooled by her mother and tutored by numerous others. Her mother demanded that she be educated science and mathematics, which worked out well for her because she is now a well-known English mathematician and writer. Because she had produced notes explaining how the concept of a specialized engine could move calculation to computation, Ada is considered to be the first programmer. Ada Lovelace Day, observed every second Tuesday in October to honor the achievements of women in STEM fields, is one of the most well-known women in technology.
Grace Hopper was born in 1906 and died in 1992. She was born in New York and graduated from Yale University with a Ph. D in mathematics in 1930. She enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1943 and retired in 1966. Grace joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp in 1949 while serving in the Naval Reserve, where she built a compiler that turned programmers' instructions into computer codes. Her division created the first English-language data processing compiler in 1957. She was recalled after retiring from the Naval Reserve to assist standardize the navy's computer languages, and at the age of 79, she was renowned as the navy's oldest officer before retiring in 1986. She has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2016.
Annie was born in 1933 and died in 2011. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and spent two years at Xavier University studying pharmacy. She met her spouse shortly after graduating from university, and the two moved to Cleveland. Annie's life took a turn for the better at this point. She applied for a job at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) because there was no pharmaceutical school nearby, and she started working there within two weeks. She was one of four African Americans who worked there, developing and implementing code that eventually contributed to the invention of hybrid automobile batteries. She is well-known as one of the most influential women in technology for pushing women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM professions.
Mary Wilkes was born in Chicago in 1937 and received her bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wellesley College in 1959. Her eighth-grade geography teacher predicted that she would become a computer programmer when she grew up. Mary had no idea at the time that this would turn out to be true. For a year in 1959-1960, she worked with computers such as the IBM 709 and IBM 704 in her early years. She joined the digital computer group in 1961 and was instrumental in the creation of the LNC TX-2, designing and writing the operators handbook for the final console design. She is credited for helping to design the first personal computer and for being the first person to own one.
Mary Keller was an American Roman Catholic religious sister who lived from 1913 to 1985. She began working at the National Science Foundation workshop in the computer science department at Dartmouth College, which was an all-male institution at the time. She collaborated with two other scientists to create the BASIC programming language. Mary received her doctorate in computer science from the University of Michigan in 1965. She went on to develop a computer science program at Clarke College, a Catholic women's college. She chaired the department for 20 years and was a strong advocate for women in computer science, encouraging working families to bring their children to class with them. For being the first woman to get a Ph. D in computer science, she is known as one of the renowned women in technology, and Clarke University (Clarke College) has established the Mary Keller Computer Science Scholarship in her honor.
Adele Goldberg was born in Ohio in 1973 and graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, followed by a doctorate in information science from the University of Chicago in 1973. Adele worked as a researcher at the Xero Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) in the 1970s, and she was the only woman among the males that collaborated on the Smalltak-80. Smalltalk-80 was a programming language for which they created the architecture and design such that windows may overlap on display screens, or Graphical User Interface (GUI) (GUI). Adele introduced Steve Jobs with the Smalltalk system, and Jobs incorporated many of the alto's ideas into his Apple products. As a result, Adele Goldberg is remembered as one of the renowned women in technology who inspired Steve Jobs to create the first Apple computer, as the Apple desktop environment would not appear the way it does today if it weren't for her.