Sunday, September 24, 2017

5 Important Women in the History of Technology

March 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When you say technology, IT, and inventions, the first person that comes to your mind is probably a man. While this is justified, it doesn’t mean that our long history hasn’t seen its fair share of women inventors who turned the world of technology upside down. In celebration of the International Women’s Day, we have decided to pay homage to some of the most fascinating women we’ve had the pleasure to read and learn about over the years.

Hedy Lamarr and Wireless Technologies

Actress and Inventor Hedy Lamarr

Upon finding out that her patent’s been awarded, Lamarr said: “Well, it’s about time.”

Most of you probably know her as the famous movie star from the 1930s and 1940s, but that’s not all Hedy was. She was actually one of the main inventors of spread-spectrum technology, which later on played an important role in the development of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). The technology was originally developed to help out the Navy control torpedoes – remotely – but was afterwards (the late 1950s) used in secure military communications.

Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace portrait

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.”

The only legitimate child of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke, Miss Augusta Ada King was the one who translated a document by Luigi Menabrea about Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine back in 1843. However, she did not just translate the text – she also added her own notes to it which were actually an algorithm for a computer that, well, was yet to be invented. Because of this, Lovelace is thought of, by some, as the world’s first programmer.

Grace Hopper Popularizes the Terms “Bug” and “Debugging”

Admiral Grace Hopper

“From then on, when anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it.”

Admiral Hopper (yes, Admiral) was not only the first lady to graduate from Yale and obtain a Ph.D in mathematics, but was also the first one to become an Admiral in the US Navy. What did she do for technology? She developed the first computer compiler (1952) and COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), plus popularized the terms we use today on a daily basis – “bug” and “debugging”.

Marissa Mayer: The Master of Search

CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer

“I refuse to be stereotyped.”

Before becoming CEO of Yahoo in 2012, Marissa spent 13 years at Google, where she was in charge of development of some of the company’s most successful products (Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View, Google News and Gmail). She was also Google’s very first female engineer and, at the time she was appointed CEO of Yahoo, one of the only 20 female CEOs running a Fortune 500 company (one of the 500 largest and richest US corporations). While working at Google, Mayer was the one who approved each Google Doodle we are all familiar with.

Radia Perlman a.k.a the Mother of Internet

The Mother of Internet, Radia Perlman

“Start out with finding the right problem to solve.”

Although Radia isn’t a huge fan of her nickname, the truth is that she was the one responsible for making Ethernet what it is today. Perlman developed the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which represents the basis for the operation of network bridges. This innovation had a huge impact on network switches – devices which connect other devices on a computer network. Perlman graduated from MIT and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mathematics and a Ph.D in Computer Science.