Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, which is dedicated to blogging about women in technology and science.
Of course, we all know who Ada Lovelace is, right? A quick primer is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace. In short, she wrote the first ever computer program, which was pretty impressive considering that the computer hadn't been invented yet (Babbage was working on it, but never finished) and that this was in the Victorian era.

So go and look up women in technology and science, and comment here about your favorite. I'll start with Hedy Lamarr. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr Now she is best known as an Austrian-born actress who fled her homeland during the Nazi occupation. What fewer people know is that she also worked with composer George Antheil to create "frequency hopping", a method of making radio guided Allied sub torpedos harder for the enemy to jam.

Because of technology limitations, this wasn't used until 1962 during a United States blockade of Cuba, but it still was revolutionary. Frequency hopping is also the basis of technology used in wi-fi network connections. So next time you're using wi-fi on your laptop or your cellphone, remember that Hedy Lamarr helped to make that happen.

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