Grace Hopper


Grace Hopper Grace Hopper Grace Hopper Grace Hopper Grace Hopper Grace Hopper
General Information
Birth date December 9, 1906
Death date January 1, 1992
Education Graham School
Schoonmakers School
Vassar College(1924-1928)
Yale University(Graduated in 1934)
Achievments Women Engineers Achievement Award (1964)
The National Medal of Technology (1991)
Elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1962)
Elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1963)
Elected as a fellow of the Association of Computer Programmers and Analysts (1972)
Elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (1973)
Elected as a distinguished fellow of the British Computer Society (1973)
The Navy Meritorious Service Medal (1980)
Induction into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame (1984)
The Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1986)

Biography

Grace Brewster Murray, later to be known as Grace Hopper, was born December 9th, 1906 and died on 1st of January 1992. The oldest of two children, her father Walter Murray was an insurance broker and graduate of Andover Academy and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale. Her mother, Mary Van Horne, was a housewife, but was remembered for her love of mathematics, intellectual games and puzzles. She and Hopper’s grandfather - a senior civil engineer for New York City - were the main influences which prompted Grace to study mathematics. In 1930 she married Vincent Foster Hopper, but they had no children.

Hopper was educated at Graham School and Schoonmakers School, both private girl schools in New York City. She intended to enter Vassar College in 1923, but failed a Latin exam and was required to wait another year. Grace spent this academic year at Hartridge School in Plainfield, New Jersey, and then entered Vassar College in 1924. After graduating from Vassar in 1928, she proceeded to Yale University, where, in 1930, she received a master’s degree in mathematics and later a doctorate in 1934. Despite bleak prospects for female mathematicians in teaching beyond high school level, Vassar College hired her first as an instructor, then as a professor of mathematics. Hopper taught at Vassar until the beginning of World War II.

Year Job
1943 Ships Computation Project at Harvard
1949 Senior mathematician in a start-up company (the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporationd)
1952 Systems engineer and director of automatic programming for the UNIVAC Division of Sperry
1964 Staff scientist of systems programming in the UNIVAC Division of Sperry
1966 Retire
1967 Directing the standardization of high level languages in the Navy
1968 Retire

In 1943, Hopper joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, attending midshipman's school and obtaining a commission as a lieutenant in 1944. She was immediately assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard. The project, directed by Howard Aiken, was her first introduction to Aiken's task, which was to devise a machine that would assist the Navy in making rapid, difficult computations for projects such as laying a mine field. In other words, Aiken was in the process of building and programming America's first programmable digital computer—the Mark I. In 1949, she left Harvard to take up the position of senior mathematician in a start-up company, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. This company was later bought by Sperry Corporation. Hopper stayed with the organization, and in 1952 became the systems engineer and director of automatic programming for the UNIVAC Division of Sperry, a post she held until 1964.

Hopper was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1962, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) later in 1963. She was awarded the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award in 1964. Hopper continued her work with Sperry, and in 1964 was appointed staff scientist of systems programming in the UNIVAC Division.

While at Sperry, Hopper remained active in the Navy Reserves, retiring with great reluctance in 1966. However, only seven months later, she was asked to direct the standardization of high level languages in the Navy. She returned to active duty in 1967 and was exempted from mandatory retirement at age of sixty-two. She served in the Navy until she was seventy-one years old.