There are for sure many women who changed the technical and technological world, but here is a selection of 10 women- researchers, technicians and engineers which did remarkable investigations which strongly boosted the progress on computers, networking, programming and computing.
These technology inventions provide besides for many other industry domains the base for development of innovative products in the areas of digital Health, medical devices, production in the medicine industry and many other puzzle parts of the current and future HealthTech.
Ada Lovelace: The World’s First Computer Programmer
Ada was the daughter of romantic poet, Lord Byron, and his wife, Anna Isabella-Byron. Her mathematical talent shone through in her early life, and her skills and interest in machines lead to a working relationship with Charles Babbage. Babbage was the inventor of the “Analytical Engine”, a complicated device that was never actually created, but resembled the elements of a modern computer. As a result of her work on the project, Ada is often referred to as the “world’s first computer programmer”. It was Lovelace’s notes on the Analytical Engine that Alan Turing used as a form of inspiration for his work on the first modern computer in the 1940s.
Grace Hopper: The Esteemed Computer Scientist
Undeniably famous in the tech world, Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper was an esteemed computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I. Her work led to the development of COBOL, an early programming language we is still used to this day. In 1947, she recorded the worlds first ever real computer bug, and it is also said that she coined the phrase: “it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
Hedy Lamarr: The Inventor of WiFi
Hedy was a self-taught inventor and film actress, who was awarded a patent in 1942 for her “secret communication system”, designed with the help of the composer George Antheil. This frequency hopping system was intended as a way to set radio-guided torpedos off course during the war, but the idea eventually inspired Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth technology commonly used today.
Annie Easley: The NASA Rocket Scientist
Annie was a NASA rocket scientist, and a trailblazer for gender and racial diversity in STEM. When hired, she was one of only four black employees at the Lab. 34 years later, she had contributed to numerous programs as a computer scientist, inspired many through her enthusiastic participation in outreach programs, and broken down barriers as equal employment opportunity counsellor. Easley’s vital work on the Centaur rocket project while at NASA laid the foundations for space shuttle launches in the future.
Mary Wilkes: The First Home Computer User
Mary is a former computer programmer and logic designer. She is best known for designing the software for the LINC, one of the earliest systems of an interactive personal computer. Her use of the LINC at home in 1965 made her the first ever home computer user, and her work has been recognised at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park.
Mary Wilkes (at home with the LINC)
Adele Goldberg: The Inspiration For GUI
Adele was instrumental in the development of the programming language Smalltalk-80, which inspired the very first Apple computer. Adele is said to have referred to the decision to show Steve Jobs Smalltalk as a way to “give away the kitchen sink”. She was probably right! The concepts that Adele and her team set in motion became the basis for graphical user interfaces (GUI) we use every day.
Radia Perlman: The Mother Of The Internet
Nicknamed “Mother of the Internet”, Radia’s invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), was instrumental in making today’s internet possible. Her work made a huge impact on the way networks self-organize and move data, and put the basic rules of internet traffic in place. Radia has delivered keynote speeches across the world, and is still a computer programmer and engineer for Dell EMC.
Katherine Johnson: The NASA Mathematician
Katherine’s trajectory analysis as a mathematician for NASA was crucial to the success of the first ever US space flight. Her complex manual calculations were also critical in fuure space missions, including the first American in orbit, John Glenn. Katherine ran the numbers programmed into the computer at NASA for the flight by hand, at the request of Glenn. Katherine remembers him saying “if she says they’re good… “then I’m ready to go.” At age 97, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour, by President Obama.
Karen Spaerck-Jones: The Pioneer in Information Science
Karen was a pioneer in information science, and her work is some of the most highly cited in her field. Her development of Inverse Document Frequency (IDF), a weighting factor which evaluates how important a word is to a document, is now standard in web search engines and used to rank a document’s relevance to a search query. She received the highly acclaimed Lovelace Medal in 2007!
Elizabeth Feinler: The Original Search Engine
Between 1972 to 1989, Elizabeth ran the Network Information Center in California, which was a bit like a “pre-historic Google.” The NIC was the first place to publish the resources and directories for the Internet, developing the original “white pages” and “yellow pages” directories. Her group also developed the domain naming scheme of .com, .edu, .gov, .net, and many more that we use so commonly today.