One worthy outcome of World War II was the recognition that women received as individuals being capable of performing what was previously called “a man’s job.” Since then, women have achieved much in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In technology, women have made notable achievements, with Ada Lovelace Bryon, who lived before this war, leading them.
Ada Lovelace Byron
The English poet, Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace Bryon, worked with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the “Analytical Engine,” an intricate device that resembles many of the computer elements. Alan Turing used Hedy’s notes on this device for his work in the 1940s on the first modern computer.
As a child, this beautiful actress disassembled a music box and put it back together. Hedy became an inventor who was awarded a patent for her “secret communication system” in 1942. With composer George Antheil, Hedy developed a frequency hopping system that set radio-guided torpedos from their courses in World War II. This concept inspired Bluetooth, wi-fi and GPS, technologies commonly used today.
A former logic designer and computer programmer, Mary Wilkes is known as the software designer for LINC, an early system of an interactive personal computer. Having used LINC at home in 1965, Mary became renowned as the first home computer user. Ms. Wilkes’s work is recognized at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Annie Easley obtained a degree in pharmacy from Xavier University in New Orleans, an African-American college. Despite her education, she met with rejections; however, after she married and moved to Cleveland, Ms. Easley became a rocket scientist, contributing to the Centaur rocket project while at NASA.
Called “Mother of the Internet,” Ms. Perlman’s invention of the algorithm connected with Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) helped to make possible the internet of today. Instrumental in the formation of the modern internet, Ms. Perlman’s efforts significantly impacted how networks move data and self-organize. These efforts put in place the basic rules of internet traffic.
A mathematician for NASA, Ms. Johnson’s trajectory analysis was critical to the success of the first US flight in space and future missions, such as that of John Glenn. When she was 97, Katherine Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.