Category Archives: Women in Tech

A collection of famous(well, indeed mostly unknown) Women in Tech. There’s so many of them until in the late sixties something happened.

Agora – Hypatia of Alexandria

Agora DVD

Hypatia of Alexandria lived in th 4th century A.D., in hard times for a female philosopher and scientist. According to Wikipedia, she is “the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded.” The astronomer and university teacher Hypatia tried to conserve the (ancient-classical) knowledge that was endangered by religious turmoil in the wake of the fall of the Roman empire. 

Rachel Weisz plays a wonderful Hypatia in Amenábar’s movie “Agora“. In its end, she’s killed by religious fanatists (in this case Christian ones), who tear her skin off, mostly because she failed to comply with the religion’s rules and the position in society she was supposed to take.

Frances Spence – another unhonored ENIAC developer

Frances Spence

One more from the core female developers of ENIAC. As other women, she mostly went unhonored – because female contributions didn’t match societies’ expectations:

Photos of these women working on the computer often went without credit in newspapers at the time, and when the ENIAC was completed and unveiled to the public on February 15, 1946, the US Army failed to mention the names of the female programmers who had programmed the machine to run such sophisticated calculations. This further contributed to the perceived disconnect between women and computing.

(Read more on Wikipedia)

ENIAC: Betty Jean Jennings Bartik

The ENIAC's main control panel with Bartnik on the left.

Bartik was one of the leading developers of the ENIAC trajectory computer, and she was quite proud of its first public presentation in 1946:

“The day ENIAC was introduced to the world was one of the most exciting days of my life. The demonstration was fabulous. ENIAC calculated the trajectory faster than it took the bullet to travel. We handed out copies of the calculations as they were run. ENIAC was 1,000 times faster than any machine that existed prior to that time. With its flashing lights, it also was an impressive machine illustrating graphically how fast it was actually computing.”

(more at Wikipedia)