Female Computers

by Daniel Russ on April 11, 2011

 

“… the story of four women ‘computers,’ presenting their exhilarating successes in aiding the war effort and the moral dilemmas they faced. WWII ushered in a new era for women in the workforce, including female mathematicians. In 1942, the United States military began recruiting college-educated female mathematicians to work as human ‘computers.’ Equipped with desktop calculators and a differential analyzer (a predecessor to the world’s first electronic computer), these women computed firing tables which improved the accuracy and effectiveness of the Allies’ weapons. Working 6 days a week, 24 hours a day from a lab at the University of Pennsylvania, the women were considered sub-professionals and paid only $2,000 a year, but their efforts had profound effects on the war and on the dawn of computer programming.”

 

From University of Minnesota online

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