Joan Clarke

Joan Elisabeth Lowther Murray Clarke (1917-1996) was an English cyrptanalyst known for her work at Bletchley Park during WWII as a “code-breaker.” “Code breakers” were those that worked on decoding a machine that the Germans invented called The Enigma Code that encrypted their messages. While the Germans beleived their machine was unbreakable, Clarke worked on… Read more »

Betty Snyder Holberton

Betty Snyder Holberton (1917- 2001) was one of the six original programmers on the first electronic digital computer, the ENIAC during WWII. It was often joked that she was someone who “solved more problems in her sleep than other people did awake.”  She wrote one of the first SORT/MERGE systems using a deck of playing… Read more »

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) born in Austria and made her way to America where she was a famous actress. At the beginning of WWII, Hedy along with composer George Antheli invented a radio guidance system for torpedoes. This technology, spread-spectrum techniques are incoproated into the Bluetooth technology we know today as well as early version of… Read more »

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper (1906-1992) joined the US Navy during WWII and worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard. She created on ground breaking technology and was known for her no nonsense style of teaching. She continued working in computers her entire life and even led the team that created COBOL, the first language compiler. She… Read more »

Mary Clem

As chief clerk for the Statistical Lab at Iowa State University Mary Clem (1905-1979) performed hundreds of thousands of mathematical calculations. She even created a new method, called “zero check,” to catch errors and save statisticians from becoming lost in a maze of math mistakes!

Clara Froelich

Clara Froelich (1892-1991) graduated with honors from Barnard College in 1915 and went to work in the mathematics division of Bell Telephone Laboratories. When she discovered that the mathematics division did not have its own machines, she spent evenings in the company’s accounting office working on the tabulators typically used for business transactions. Clara eventually… Read more »

Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke (1883-1959 ), born in rural Maryland, was orphaned at an early age. She used her inheritance to enroll at Vassar at a time when few women earned a college degree. At Vassar she studied mathematics and astronomy and eventually worked as a “computing assistant” to George Campbell at AT&T. At AT&T she learned… Read more »

Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) was an American astronomer who contributed greatly to the classification of stellar spectra. It is her system that is now used for current stellar classification. Due to scarlet fever, Annie was almost completely deaf. She s discovered more than 300 variable stars on photographic plates and noted their spectral characteristics.

Alice Lee

Alice Lee (1858-1939) was one of the first women to graduate from the University of London, receiving not one, but two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in 1884 and a Bachelor of Arts in 1885! In 1901 she received a PhD after she applied statistical methods to evolutionary biology. Alice worked as a “computer” at… Read more »

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was the first person to publish an algorithm  for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, the first modern computer.  As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer. What is an algorithm? An algorithm is a set of steps a problem solver– either a person… Read more »