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Interview with Eleanor Kolchin
February 5, 2013 8:27 AM   Subscribe

The Face Of A 'Computer' From 1946
posted by infini (5 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
that was really neat. i love reading about women in science and tech from the "old days" (like finding out that Watson and Crick used Rosalind Franklin's research to to find the double helix).

two quotes that struck me:

And [in the 1950s] I was actually working at home a lot because I was doing a lot of programming from home. I would write out the program on paper using Fortran [a programming language], then I would mail it in to key punch operators at NYU, they would punch the cards out and then I would use the cards to run the program.

and

My husband has 13 symphonies on his iPod Mini and they only take up a third of the space. That boggles my mind. You don’t even know what a miracle you’re living in.
posted by sio42 at 9:06 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, some of my favorite parts of the Feynman books are him describing how he organized rooms of women and high school boys to be computers by passing computations around.
posted by DU at 9:27 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was most frustrating about the computers you worked with in the early part of your career?
Every time a new machine came out, you had to throw out everything you knew and start from scratch.
I so agree with her. And they're still doing it. Windows8 Booo.
I was actually working at home a lot because I was doing a lot of programming from home. I would write out the program on paper using Fortran ....
Oh wow, I'm sure she was using forms like these, which had almost completely disappeared by the time I used computers. For me they evoke a nostalgia for a time I never actually experienced.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:54 AM on February 5, 2013


We used them to "learn" some Fortran during Computer 1. But that was back in Fall 82 or Spring of 83 of my senior year in high school. Teacher showed us the forms.
posted by infini at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Between this woman, Rear Admiral Gracy Hopper, and of course Ada Lovelace herself, it seems like computer science has been a rare venue where women were actually allowed to excel based on abilities.... even competing with men for jobs, in some cases.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:05 AM on February 9, 2013


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