Aerogility highlights inspirational women in technology in celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Throughout its history, technology has been seen as a largely male-dominated field. On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are celebrating the women who had an undeniable impact on the technology we use today and who have inspired our own Aerogility team members in their careers.
Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and is now considered the first computer programmer due to her research into how a specific engine could transform calculations into computation. The founder of Ada Lovelace Day, which occurs annually on 15 October, told The New Yorker: “I started to think that one of the biggest parts of the problem was that women in tech are often invisible.” We are proud that as an industry, we are working to rectify this problem.
Known as ‘the mother of computing’, Grace Hopper was an American naval officer and one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, which brought speed and accuracy to the US’ military initiatives. Her achievements include creating the first compiler: software that translates arithmetic into language and unifies programming instruction. Hopper was one of the architects of a computer language called COBOL, which is still a standard of data processing today. She is also credited with the idea that computer code could be written and read like language.
According to NASA, Annie Easley developed and implemented code that led to the development of the battery used in the first hybrid cars. Easley is also well known for her work encouraging women and people of colour to pursue STEM careers.
Vera Rubin was an American astronomer who discovered the existence of dark matter, completely changing our understanding of the Universe. Rubin was a strong critic of the male-centric world of physics and astronomy, using her scientific platform to fight sexism in the field. We believe Rubin deserved a Nobel Prize.
Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan
Three women fundamental to the early years of the US space programme and to NASA’s first launch of a person into orbit, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan were experts in their field, but with little recognition. Their story was brought to light in the 2016 book and film Hidden Figures, in which the misogyny and discrimination Jackson, Johnson and Vaughan experienced throughout their careers is made apparent. These women were known as ‘human computers’ due to their brilliant minds.
Margaret Hamilton is considered to be the originator of the term ‘software engineering’. Hamilton’s work for NASA on the Apollo Guidance Computer software was crucial to the ultimate success of the Apollo 11 mission. No software bugs were ever known to have occurred during any crewed Apollo missions, which is attributed to Hamilton’s steadfast dedication to her work.
Famous for her roles in the 1940s Oscar-nominated films Algiers and Samson and Delilah, the multi-talented Hedy Lamarr also invented a frequency-hopping algorithm that is the basis of secure wi-fi, GPS and Bluetooth technology.