Margaret Butler helps assemble the ORACLE computer with Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineer Rudolph Klein. In 1953, ORACLE was the world’s fastest computer. Designed at Argonne, it was constructed at Oak Ridge. Butler was a pioneering scientist who spent her career at the forefront of computer science and nuclear energy. Her spirit, drive, and analytical talents led to a lifetime of scientific contributions during an era when women were a rarity in a major scientific setting.
WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) is pleased to present a sampling of images documenting women scientists and engineers from around the world, most of whom were pioneers in their respective fields, or were the first women to receive advanced graduate degrees in their discipline.
Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. A pioneer in the computer field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language
Emily Roebling, the female engineer secretly behind the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge – one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. At the opening ceremony, Congressman Abram Stevens Hewitt said that the bridge was "an everlasting monument to the sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred."
Melba Roy, NASA Mathmetician, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in 1964. Ms. Roy led a group of NASA mathmeticians known as “computers” who tracked the Echo satellites. The first time I shared Ms. Roy on VBG, my friend Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a former postdoc in astrophysics at NASA, helpfully explained what Ms. Roy did in the comment section. I am sharing Chanda’s comment again here: “By the way, since I am a physicist, I might as well explain a little bit about what
Aeronautical engineer Laurel van der Wal had a career as a model, art instructor, deputy sheriff before training to be a pilot. At UC she became an aeronautical engineer, winning the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award in '61 when she was head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Labs. The press release emphasized that the "pretty head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Laboratories, Inc." was a "former model" even though LA Times had just named her Woman Scientist of the Year.
Katherine Johnson, research mathematician and scientist who worked at NASA’s Langley Research Center 1953 to 1986, calculated the trajectory of the early space launchesKristina Johnson, optoelectronic processing systems and liquid crystal devices, IEEE Fellow 2003, ABI Women of Vision Award for Leadership 2010, US Under Secretary for Energy 2009-2010