Celebrating Women in STEM: Heddy Lamarr and Grace Hopper

Happy STEM Day! As a part of STEM day we do not only celebrate the ever growing influence of science and technology but the people behind them especially the women who influenced what we now know as modern technology. 

In the world we live in today we are always in awe of the so-called pioneers of technology such Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. 

However, there is not much focus on the women who have influenced the technology that we use in our everyday lives. The invention of Wifi by Hedy Lamarr has enabled the invention of social media platforms and search engines however without this foundation the technology we now know today would cease to exist. 

Furthermore, the ability to use computers that we have today is due to the work of Ada LoveLace, the world’s first computer programmer. Without any of these inventions the so called ‘essentials’ such as email, Google or Instagram would not have been attainable. The modern drift from the focus on men to the equal focus on women in the 21st century should also shed light on the true pioneers of modern technology, the women behind masterpieces. 

And I’m going to share with you 2 stories of amazing women who influenced technology that we now know today.

1- Hedy Lamarr was an American actress and inventor who invented WIFI, GPS and Bluetooth communication systems. When younger her intelligence was ignored as people focused on her beauty as she studied acting and started starring in films. After meeting George Antheil, an avant-garde composer, pianist, author, and inventor at a dinner party they began to come up with ideas to reinvent what was then known as modern technology. The two came up with a communication system used to guide torpedoes yet she was still not recognised. Until after inventing her genius ideas in 1997 when she won the Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her contributions to the field of spread-spectrum technology.

2. Grace Hopper was known as an esteemed computer scientist, one of the first computer programmers and among the team who found the first-reported computer bug. She earned a mathematics doctorate from Yale University in 1934. Hopper worked on private calculations and computing rocket trajectories during the second world war. Later on in her career Hopper invented the first English-language data-processing compiler, which laid the foundation for the development of machine-independent programming languages, like COBOL.

On this STEM Day, we celebrate the women who created the foundation which allowed for the modern technology we now know today! At She Code we aspire to empower women by giving them access to training, tools and resources in order for them to learn more about technology, open more doors and and leave them with the skills to strive for the same excellence as these women.

Written by Hinnd Ben Halim

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