Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age

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MIT Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 389 pages
20 Reviews

A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906--1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper's later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story. In Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age, Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper's greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Clare_M - LibraryThing

I really liked this book. There were some dry bits, yes, however the author seemed to really capture the spirit of Admiral Hopper. I had not known how varied and holistic her education was before ... Read full review

Review: Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series)

User Review  - Philipp - Goodreads

A very good summary of the life of Grace Hopper, the third programmer ever, creator of the first compiler A-0 and its subsequent versions A-1 and A-2, driving force behind making programming languages ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Elizabeth F. Loftus is Distinguished Professor in the department of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine. In "Eyewitness Testimony" (1979), she described her theory of how perceptions can modify human memory, and her research helped her to become one of the nation's leading legal consultants in the area of eyewitness testimony in trials. She has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 2003.

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