For Women’s History Month, the blog is highlighting Grace Hopper, a groundbreaking computer scientist, mathematician, and an officer in the U.S. Navy. Our most recent book on Hopper is “Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age,” by Kurt Beyer (MIT Press, 2012. She is listed in “American Women Scientists: 23 inspiring biographies, 1900-2000,” by Moira Davison Reynolds. Here are some quick facts:
- Earned a Ph.D in Mathematics from Yale University in 1934.
- While working in private industry, she helped create the first “compiler” for computer languages (a compiler renders worded instructions into code that can be read by computers). This compiler was the basis for the later development of COBOL, a computer language used widely in the business world.
- First woman to win the National Medal of Technology (1991)
- When she retired as a rear admiral from U.S. Navy at age 79, she was at that time the oldest serving officer.
- First woman of any nationality (and the first American) ever named as Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
- Posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by Pres. Barack Obama for her accomplishments in the field of computer science.