When most people think of the origin of computers, they probably imagine a bunch of men huddled around a huge machine, crunching numbers. While this image is mostly correct, you’re forgetting a huge fact. Among that group of men was an amazing woman, Grace Hopper.
Grace Hopper not only worked on the first computer, the Mark 1, but she is also known as the “mother” of COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language). She laid many of the stepping stones in the computer science industry that have led to modern day technological advances.
Even at a young age Hopper was curious and inquisitive. She would have questions about something and do her best to find an answer. When she was 7 her mother caught her taking apart alarm clocks so she could figure out how they worked.
After graduating high school she went to Vassar and earned a bachelors degree in 1928 in mathematics and physics and then her masters from Yale University in 1930. She continued her education at Yale and went on to receive her PhD in mathematics. Hopper began teaching at Vassar in 1931. She continued there as a professor there until 1943.
During her career in teaching Hopper decided she wanted to serve our country and join the U.S. Navy. She was one among many women who volunteered to serve in the WAVES. She was told that she was too little to join. She was 15 pounds under the weight requirement of 120 pounds. But Grace Hopper was a determined woman and she was able to get an exemption which allowed her to enlist.
While in the Navy, Hopper was able to work on the first computer. It was at that time that she coined the term “debugging” […]