The Life and Times of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Without the work of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, much of the technology we use today simply would not exist.
After completing her PhD in mathematics from Yale, Hopper went on to teach computer science at Vassar. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 – the beginning of a long career which would earn her 8 military medals and the titles of Commander, Captain, Commodore – a special Presidential appointment – and Rear Admiral – Lower Half.
Hopper would quickly be put to work on Mark I, the first computer in America, which was 8 feet high and 51 feet long. In 1947, Hopper and her team coined the term “debugging” a computer when they had to pull a dead moth out of Mark II.
Between 1951-1952, Hopper helped to invent the A-0 system, the first ever compiler which transformed complex source code to binary code. In 1959, Hopper helped invent COBOL, a primary programming language for business applications. Without these two developments, the programming language which helps us to use this technology would not exist.
Hopper retired from the Navy for the third and final time in 1986. Shortly after, she appeared on David Letterman’s Show. He introduced Hopper as the “Queen of Software.” Hopper made the audience clap and laugh with her wit and intelligence. She performed her famous demonstration of a nanosecond by using an 11.8 inch piece of cable to show the distance electricity can travel in a nanosecond.
Hopper died in 1992, but the annual Grace Hopper Celebration conference for women in computing honours her many contributions to this field. As well, the first military academy building named after a woman, Hopper Hall, is set to be completed in 2019.
Check out the below infographic by Storagepipe Solutions to learn more about Hopper’s many achievements and the mark she has left in the many fields she practiced.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
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