8 Interesting Facts About the Computer Science Pioneer.
With an endless sense of curiosity and devotion, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was one of the foremost computer science engineers.
Her research helped the United States win World War Two, was the foundation of the world’s most utilized business programming language (COBOL), and inspired budding computer science engineers for decades. The technology industry should be (and is) grateful for all this remarkable woman achieved.
1. Grace Hopper enjoyed breaking things
When she was seven years old, she completely dismantled seven alarm clocks to see how they worked. When her mother found out, she limited her curious daughter to just one clock, foregoing punishment.
2. Grace Hopper is a New Yorker
Born in New York City, 1906, she was the oldest of three children.
3. Grace Hopper loved mathematics
She obtained a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in Mathematics, double majoring in physics as an undergraduate at Vassar College.
Grace Murray Hopper at the UNIVAC keyboard, c. 1960
The most damaging phrase in the language is “We’ve always done it this way!"
“A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
4. Grace Hopper was a hands-on learner
She turned down a full professor position at Vassar College in order to continue working at the Harvard Computations Lab as a Research fellow under Navy contract.
5. Grace Hopper set the stage for modern programing languages
While working at the Remington Rand corporation in the 1950s, she created the first working compiler. “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic." She was named the company's first director of automatic programming in 1954.
6. Grace Hopper was invaluable
She twice retired from the Navy, once in 1966, and again in 1971, but was called back to active duty both times. When she did retire for the final time, it was 1986.
7. Grace Hopper was a devoted teacher
Whether a Vassar College professor, Navy officer, and private sector researcher, her students would receive her full attention. “The most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people.” - Grace Hopper
8. Grace Hopper appeared on Letterman
And didn't break a sweat.
“The most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people.”
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