|Gif Credit: Google|
By Abby Raskin:
In 1947, Grace Hopper pulled a moth out of Relay #70, Panel F of the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator after it stopped working properly. We’ve been less-literally “debugging” computer programs ever since.
Hopper was truly a tech trailblazer: Graduating from Vassar College (my alma mater!) in 1928 with honors in physics and math, Hopper invented one of the first programming languages, the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL) with the belief that programming commands should be more like human languages and less like machine code. She went on to become the first woman to earn her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale (…in addition to receiving a not-so-humble 40+ honorary degrees over her lifetime), and in 1985 claimed yet another “first” as the first woman named Rear Admiral of the United States Navy.
While her love of learning and teaching far exceed the limits of a Google Doodle, today we commemorate what would have been Hopper’s 107th birthday. Her remarkable life and career helped pave the way for future tinkerers, inventors, mathematicians, designers and techies.
As an undergrad I remember once reading a Hopper quotation plastered to a Vassar wall that today lives somewhere closer to the forefront of my mind: “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Be good ships. Sail out to sea and do new things.”