Grace Hopper - Born On This Day In 1906
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 09 December 2022

Today, December 9th 2022, is the 116th anniversary of the birth of Grace Hopper. Her concern for teaching young people is why Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code are timed to coincide with her birthday. This day is also celebrated as Día Mundial de la Informática in Latin America in recognition of her being a true pioneer of computer science.

dia mundial infromatica

Día Mundial de la Informática dates back to 1983 and the choice of date pays homage to Grace Hopper who is celebrated for her role in the developing the COBOL programming language and the person who invented the term "bug"

Hopper is also honored as a teacher dedicated to sharing her understanding of computer science with young people and explains why she was chosen as the personality to embody the aims of Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) which, as reported in Why We Need An Hour Of Code, takes place in the week in early December that includes December 9th. 

gettingcoboltorun

 

Grace Hopper had a very long and very interesting career, an overview of which is provided in this video;

. She started out with the disadvantage of being a woman with an interest in technology. Having studied mathematics at Vasser College, she earned a Ph.D. in  from Yale, but as a woman her options were limited - she could only look forward to teaching maths. However the Second World War intervened and Grace Hopper joined the US Navy Reserve where she served on the Mark I computer programming staff headed by Howard H. Aiken.

At the end of the war Hopper's request to transfer to the regular Navy was declined due to her age - she was 38. She did, however, continue to serve in the Navy Reserve. Although she initially retired in 1966, she was recalled to active duty in August 1967 for a six-month period that turned into an indefinite assignment.

Her work on COBOL from 1967 to 1977 was as the director of the Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy's Office of Information Systems Planning. When she finally retired in 1986 she was the oldest commissioned officer in the United States Navy and had rank attained the rank of Rear Admiral. She had defeated ageism as well as sexism and was responsible for the continuous pressure within the industry to make computers and computing more accessible. 

300px-grace_hopper

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper,
December 9,1906- January 1,1992

Part of Grace Hopper's legacy has been to inspire efforts to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. For more on this see Grace Hopper - Building On Her Legacy, which includes an amusing infographic of her life.

Another infographic is presented in The Life and Times Of Admiral Grace Hopper, which also includes the famous Nanosecond video which went viral a decade ago.  See Grace Hopper's 112th Birthday for her 1991 interview with David Letterman.

She is also the subject of an article in our History section - Grace Hopper - The Mother of Cobol, and a book review - Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age.

 

More Information

Día Mundial de la Informática

Related Articles

Grace Hopper Celebrated Today

Grace Hopper's Birthday

The Life and Times Of Admiral Grace Hopper - Infographic

Grace Hopper - Building On Her Legacy 

Why We Need An Hour Of Code

Grace Hopper & Computer Science Education Week

Grace Hopper - The Mother of Cobol

Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (book review)

Google Doodle Celebrates Grace Hopper's Birthday 

 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 09 December 2022 )