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Created and Maintained by: A.B. Credaro
Updated November 24, 2001


My Research Project
by Billy Smith, age 13.
7 July, 2001


To investigate the role of women in recent scientific discovery.


Collect information from different library resources, and present a report on the topic.


One day, MAN might walk on the moon (Scientific American, 1960). However, as the main occupation of women is either as teachers or nurses (Bureau of Statistics, 1937), very few women will be involved, except maybe as secretaries, until they get married.

Marie Curie was a famous woman scientist, but she died because of her work with science. If she had been home looking after her children (Sogynist, 1958), she would still be alive today.

The most important scientific discovery of the decade was most probably that of Liquid Paper, invented by Bette Graham in 1956 (Rand, 1958). Bette was a secretary who made a lot of typing mistakes, so she wasn't even a very good secretary.

Margaret Thatcher is the current prime minister of England (Thompson, 1986), but she used to be a scientist. She wasn't clever enough, so she left and became a politician.

There are a lot of famous Russian women scientists listed on the Internet, but the information is in Russian, so I couldn't read it.

Grace Hopper was a famous computer scientist(Yale, 2001).>>Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper was a remarkable woman who grandly rose to the challenges of programming the first computers. During her lifetime as a leader in the field of software development concepts, she contributed to the transition from primitive programming techniques to the use of sophisticated compilers. She believed that "we've always done it that way" was not necessarily a good reason to continue to do so. Pursuing her belief that computer programs could be written in English, Admiral hopper moved forward with the development for Univac of the B-O compiler, later known as FLOW-MATIC. It was designed to translate a language that could be used for typical business tasks like automatic billing and payroll calculation. Using FLOW-MATIC, Admiral Hopper and her staff were able to make the UNIVAC I and II "understand" twenty statements in English. When she recommended that an entire programming language be developed using English words, however, she "was told very quickly that [she] couldn't do this because computers didn't understand English." It was three years before her idea was finally accepted; she published her first compiler paper in 1952. Admiral Hopper actively participated in the first meetings to formulate specifications for a common business language. She was one of the two technical advisers to the resulting CODASYL Executive Committee, and several of her staff were members of the CODASYL Short Range Committee to define the basic COBOL language design. The design was greatly influenced by FLOW-MATIC. As one member of the Short Range Committee stated, "[FLOW-MATIC] was the only business-oriented programming language in use at the time COBOL development started... Without FLOW-MATIC we probably never would have had a COBOL." The first COBOL specifications appeared in 1959. Admiral Hopper devoted much time to convincing business managers that English language compilers such as FLOW-MATIC and COBOL were feasible. She participated in a public demonstration by Sperry Corporation and RCA of COBOL compilers and the machine independence they provided. After her brief retirement from the Navy, Admiral Hopper led an effort to standardize COBOL and to persuade the entire Navy to use this high-level computer language. With her technical skills, she lead her team to develop useful COBOL manuals and tools. With her speaking skills, she convinced managers that they should learn to use them. Another major effort in Admiral Hopper's life was the standardization of compilers. Under her direction, the Navy developed a set of programs and procedures for validating COBOL compilers. This concept of validation has had widespread impact on other programming languages and organizations; it eventually led to national and international standards and validation facilities for most programming languages. Recognition Admiral Grace Murray Hopper received many awards and commendations for her accomplishments. In 1969, she was awarded the first ever Computer Science Man-of-the-Year Award from the Data Processing Management Association. In 1971, the Sperry Corporation initiated an annual award in her name to honor young computer professionals for their significant contributions to computer science. In 1973, she became the first person from the United States and the first woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.>>>


Except for being the mother of scientists, and as secretaries of scientists, women don't really contribute much to scientific innovations. (Not counting Grace Hopper.)


Bureau of Statistics (1937). Public Census Results.

Sogynist, M.I. (1957). The Role of Women in Science.

Rand Corporation (1958). Latest Technology in Office Practices. (Pamphlet Files)

Russian Women Scientists. (2001). [online]

Scientific American (1960). The Role of NASA.

Thompson, D. (1986). The Lives of British Politicians.

Yale University. (2001). Grace Hopper. [online]

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