Grace Hopper – Walter Issacson’s The Innovators Discussed at Harvard University

Image Credit: HUPSF Computers (2), Harvard University Archives.

Tomorrow, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science will be hosting author Walter Issacson’s in a discussion about his new book The Innovators –  How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.   He will also be leading a panel discussion on women in computing.

Date: Saturday December 6, 2014

Time: 12 pm – 2 pm

Where : Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Northwest Building, 52 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, Room B103.

Registration: the event is free, advanced registration is required.

More information: here.

Walter Issacson, created amazing biographies about Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, and now turns his focus to the people who created the computer and the Internet.  One of Harvard’s legends and a heroine for many engineering girls and engineering women, Grace Hopper, will be certain to inspire the crowd.  According to the Harvard Gazette, in 1944, Lt. Grace Hopper (middle of photo) was ordered to report to Harvard University to work on the Mark I, the behemoth digital computer that had been conceived by Harvard’s Howard Aiken in 1937. Standing next to a section of the Mark I are Cmdr. Howard Aiken (left) Lt. Grace Hopper (center), and Ensign Campbell(right).  Because of Hopper’s ability to communicate precisely, Aiken assigned her to write what was to become the world’s first computer programming manual.

Over the past few months, the SolidWorks Blog has featured stories on today’s talented women of engineering and science.  In a way, young girls today are faced with more road blocks through social pressures and their own image compared to the when I made the decision to become an engineer and then write technical manuals on CAD and robotics.

Luckily we are seeing more positive influences on young girls in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) thanks to historical famous women like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper and modern day entrepreneurs that are helping to inspire the next generation of engineering girls and engineering women. Engineer Debbie Sterling is founder and CEO of GoldieBlox.  The main character of this construction toy and book series is Goldie, a creative,  talented civil engineer and her friend, Ruby, who is an very smart and fashionable computer programmer.

GoldieBlox_ParadeFloat_HiResCharlotte and Megan Goldie Blox Parade Float

Grace Hopper influenced other engineering entrepreneur that is also making a difference to young girls, The character, Bettina is a frisbee-wielding engineer who loves to build, tinker and make things.  Her favorite scientist is Grace Hopper. Her dream job: An electrical engineer so that she can design medical devices, toys, an automatic pasta maker, and rocket ships.  Bettina and her pet rabbit Hoppy, is the creation of engineers Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, Founders of Roominate, a STEM construction toy targeted at young girls.

Roominate STEM Construction Building Toy

Roominate Engineer Bettina and HoppyRoominate


Given a chance, there are many Grace Hopper’s out there today – we just need to encourage them.

Thank you Harvard Public Affairs and Communication and Harvard Archives teams, and SolidWorks Community blogger, Daniel Herzberg, for help in obtaining this story.  Thank you for sharing with the SolidWorks Community.  Marie

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard