[SIGCIS-Members] Woman in computing - NPR interviews

Paul N. Edwards pne at umich.edu
Mon Oct 20 05:41:20 PDT 2014

On this theme, I was fascinated by one of the nominations for the Computer History Museum Fellows prize this year (this is not the SIGCIS book prize):

Katherine Johnson is an African-American mathematician, born in 1918. She joined NACA/NASA in the 1950s to work as a human computer. After a short time as part of the pool of (female) human computers, she was drawn into higher levels of work and became a trusted specialist in calculating spacecraft trajectories for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. She’s now 96 but (I think) still going. NASA did some oral history interviews with her which are readily available as video, as well as a Wikipedia page and some other resources easily found with a search.

The oral histories make fascinating listening - I’ll be using them in my undergrad class this winter. 



On Oct 19, 2014, at 23:58 , Allan Olley <allan.olley at utoronto.ca> wrote:

> Hello,
> 	Just following up on the e-mail Janet Abbate sent, I think the podcast she menitoned is up. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/17/356944145/episode-576-when-women-stopped-coding
> 	An interesting piece (about 17 minutes) on the trend away from women majoring in Comp Sci that started in 1984. Some reference to the prominence of women in the early computer industry and then looking at the personal computer culture of the period. Also, references to later attempts to increase participation rates among women in computer science (specifically the project in the mid 90s by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher at Carnagie Mellon).
> 	It ends by acknowledging many people and sources including various pioneers, the organizers of the Grace Hopper conference, the book Gender Codes and its editor Tom Misa and authors including Janet Abbate and Carolyn Clark Hayes (sorry I don't have the energy to transcribe the list).
> -- 
> Yours Truly,
> Allan Olley, PhD
> http://individual.utoronto.ca/fofound/
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Paul N. Edwards
Professor of Information and History, University of Michigan 
A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010)

Terse replies are deliberate (and better than nothing)

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