Women in Technology

As I was reading the introduction to Science on the Home Front, I instantly went and looked up women in technology and science through Google. One of the pages that I came up was this page about women in computer science. It listed several women in computer science, and most are people that I have never heard about. However, Jean E. Sammet stood out at once I read about her accomplishments because I have done some computer programming and have dealt with COBOL, a language that she helped develop. Several other women stood out to because of their work on the ENAIC, a digital computer that was unveiled in 1946 to the public. These women happen to be the ones that had move around the pegs on ENAIC that were used to program it. (Just as an unrelated side, the story of how the Atanasoff–Berry Computer is the first digital computer is just as interesting to me as looking up women in science and technology.)

However, that was not all I found. In my search, this list of ten women scientists popped up and had several women that I recognized easily such as Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson, and Marrie Curie. On this list, very few of the women were born before 1900, and the only one who is included on this list is the first women physician in the United States. The list made me wonder about whether this list include more women from before 1800 or not, but knowing that these are famous women according to this blog. Then I go back to the list of famous women in computer science and look at the entry for Augusta Ada King, Countless of Lovelace, who is known for her handwritten notes describing Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a model for the modern computer. Should Ada be consider a scientist for writing down a description of Babbage’s Analytical Engine? Or should be consider a technical communicator for writing that description? The answer for the first question could be best as a maybe while the second would probably be dependent on what Ada actually wrote.

And to think all of this was started by an introduction to a book.

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