Caroline Arnold: Beauty and Brains Blog

My name is Caroline Arnold and the woman scientist I have selected to research is Grace Murray Hopper. She is known as “the Mother of the COBOL” and “Amazing Grace.” Grace Brewster Murray was born on December 9,1906 in New York City. She was the oldest of three kids. Throughout her childhood, Grace always was curious about mechanics and machinery. At age seven, her curiosity led her to take apart the alarm clocks in her house so she could figure out and discover how they tick. Grace studied math and physics at Vassar College in 1924 then went on to continue her studies at Yale. While working her first job as a teacher at Vassar College, she met and married her husband, Vincent Hopper. Grace had a family history of serving in the military. In 1943, during World War II, she joined the U.S. Navy. In 1944, she was positioned as a lieutenant and assigned to the Bureau of Ordinance Computation Project at Harvard University. She worked on the first full-scale digital computer. After serving in the Navy, Grace felt the need to move on and begin to work jobs that were more computer-science oriented. She continued to help develop the COBOL (Common Business- Oriented Language). Her invention is appreciated enormously because it is still used today. COBOL is a software system of language that is more easily understood rather than a person having to interpret mathematical notations. COBOL is still used today and is a huge factor that helps keep businesses running. Throughout her life, Grace’s intelligence and skill with computers led her to be very successful and receive over 65 honors and awards. Grace is “remembered as a charming, tiny, white-haired lady in a Navy Uniform by her comrades and students, she was a feisty, brilliant leader with a passion for change” (Orlando “An Inspirational Teacher” 28).  She died on January 1, 1992 in Arlington, Virginia and was buried with full Naval honors. Her work, intelligence, and inventions are and will be appreciated by many people all over the world.


I view Grace Hoppers, the female computer scientist who I chose to research, as a true role model and inspiration for many reasons. She had strong a passion and incredible dedication to her work as a computer scientist and Navy lieutenant. She was devoted to her jobs and tasks throughout her entire life. She was willing to give one hundred percent to prove her point. For example, the male co-workers that Grace worked with believed it would be impossible for Grace to invent the computer programming system, “COBOL.” However, after much time and dedication spent, she was able to pull through and create, “COBOL,” which resulted to be a remarkable invention that is still used today! Grace is an inspiration and should be admired for serving in the US Navy in the 1940s during World War II. Hoppers also served from 1967-1986 because the Navy was so impressed by her work and intelligence so they decided to reactivate her. When she retired from the Navy in 1986, at age 80, she was recognized as the oldest active duty officer in the U.S. Navy. Grace had a great love for her country. She was also a very intelligent and outstanding leader. Grace Hoppers should be qualified as a true role model to all women.


Grace Hoppers received over 65 awards and honors in her lifetime. Here is a list of some of Hopper’s major recognitions:

  •   1946—Naval Ordinance Development Award
  •   1962—Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  •   1964—Society of Women Engineers, SWE Achievement Award
  •   1968—Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Philadelphia Section Achievement Award
  •   1969—Data Processing Mgmt. Assoc., Computer Science “Man Of The Year” Award
  •   1970—American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Harry Goode Memorial Award
  •   1972—Wilbur Lucas Cross Medal, Yale University
  •   1972—Fellow, Association of Computer Programmers and Analysts
  •   1973—Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
  •   1976—Honorary Doctor of Science, Pratt Institute
  •   1980—Navy Meritorious Service Medal
  •   1983—Federally Employed Women Achievement Award
  • 1983—Living Legacy Award, Women’s International Center, San Diego



The male scientist I chose to research to compare my female scientist, Grace Hopper, to is Alan Turring. I chose to research Alan Turing because he was a famous scientist within the computer science and mathematics field. Another reason I chose to research Alan Turing was because was born only six years after Grace Hopper. I thought it would be appropriate to research a male scientist that was alive and worked in about the same era as my female scientist. Alan Turing and Grace Hopper were both very interesting people to research and present information about.


Comparing and contrasting my scientists that I chose to research:

Grace Hopper

  • 1906-1992
  • Born and raised in New York
  • Had supporting parents during childhood
  • Education: Vassar College, Yale University
  • Science field: computer scientist
  • Worked in the war, World War II as computer scientist
  • Worked on “Mark I” computer at Harvard
  • Invented the COBOL system
  • Received over 65 honors and awards in her lifetime


Alan Turing

  • 1912-1954
  • Born and raised in London
  • Parents put him and his brother in foster homes. His parents did not support him during his life.
  • Education: Sherborne School, King’s College
  • Science field: mathematics and computer science
  • Worked in the war, World War II, to help break the Enigma codes used by the Nazis
  • Answered the question “Entscheidungsproblem” and clarified that there is no single method that can solve all mathematical problems
  • Invented the Turing Machine
  • On June 7, 1954- committed suicide by eating an apple that contained cyanide


I believe that gender definitely influences the career of any computer scientist. The male species dominates the computer science population. Therefore, male scientists are more easily recognized and publicly known. Grace Hopper put her heart into working on her inventions and projects as a computer scientist which allowed her to receive over 65 honors and awards. However, when researching both scientists, I found there was much more information provided about Alan Turing. There were multiple books and articles written about Alan Turing, however, when finding information about Grace Hopper, I was only able to find a few articles. It is true that Alan Turing was a incredible scientist and invented outstanding technology, however, I believe that Grace Hopper should be just as publicly recognized as he is. In conclusion, gender influences the careers of computer scientists and allows men to succeed more efficiently and be more widely credited than females.


Here is a link to an interesting article I discovered that explains and discusses the male to female ratio in the computer science field. Feel free to read and enjoy!


Hello! My name is Caroline Arnold and I have previously posted about the female scientist, Grace Hopper, and about comparing the computer scientists Alan Turning and Grace Hopper. I am writing this blog for my Freshman Seminar class called “Beauty and Brains- Women in the Sciences.”

Last week I presented to my class about an organization called ACM-W, which stands for Association for Computer Machinery for women. This organization was formed in the late 1980s as a branch or sub-organization of ACM, which was founded in 1947. This organization currently consists of 15,005 members. It also consists of the ACM-W council and the ACM-W executive board. The primary mission of ACM-W is to celebrate, inform, and support women in computing and to improve working and learning environments for women. It also allows the representation of women in computer science to be more equal and fair.

Considering that Grace Hopper was a female computer scientist, I definitely think it is likely that she would belong to this organization. She faced many hardships being a female in the computer science field, however, always put up a strong fight and gave one hundred percent to her work. I believe Grace Hopper would join this organization to help spread information about females in the computer science field and to encourage other females to peruse this career. She would be an excellent and effective member of the ACM-W because this organization definitely supports her views and interests.

Works Cited

(Annotated Bibliography)

Primary Sources

Bairstow, Jeffrey. “The sayings of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USN.” Laser

Focus World 46.7 (2010): 76. Computers & Applied Sciences Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. The quotes that are included in this article will be used as a primary source. The quotes display Hopper’s passionate personality. They characterize Hopper to be a notable and smart leader. By reading these quotes, it is obvious that being in the Navy as a computer scientist caused Hoppers to be a tenacious and admirable woman. Hoppers was willing to take risks and be a leader.

Secondary Sources

Barker, Colin. “100 Years of Grace Hopper.” CNET News. Dec. 8, 2006. Web. 12 Sept.

2011. Barker’s article gives information about Hopper’s invention, COBOL (Common Business- Oriented Language). He discusses that Hopper in known as “the mother of COBOL.” Her invention is appreciated enormously because it is still used today. COBOL is a software system of language that is more easily understood rather than a person having to interpret mathematical notations. COBOL is still used today and is a huge factor that helps keep businesses running.

Borg, Anita and Whitney, Telle. “The Grace Hopper Celebration.” Communications of

the ACM 38.1 (1995): 50-51. Computers & Applied Sciences Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. This source will be used to discuss the “Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.” The Grace Hopper Celebration was a computing conference that took place to increase diversity in the computing field. Women were able to get together and discuss their jobs and passion for working in the computing field. It is known that women are a minority in the computer field. The Grace Hopper Celebration was created to fix that problem, increase diversity, and allow women to feel a sense of comfort with their jobs.

Orlando, Maria. “Amazing Grace.” Poptronics 3.7 (2002): 26. Computers & Applied

            Sciences Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. This article admires Hoppers

for her outstanding work. Orlando notes Hoppers to be “the patriot”, “an inspirational teacher”, and “a futurist and a pioneer.” This article includes a sample of the honors and awards Hoppers received in her life. Orlando’s article mentions many uplifting remarks of Hopper’s dedication, work, and creations that gives a sense of high praise towards her.

Sammet, Jean E. “Farewell to Grace Hopper-End of an Era!.” Communications of the

ACM 35.4 (1992): 128-131. Computers & Applied Sciences Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. Sammet’s article mentions how Hopper had a true love and appreciation for the Navy. This source makes known that Hopper was one of the greatest women in the computer field. Hopper’s involvement with her career, such as joining the Harvard faculty as a research fellow in engineering sciences, Navy service, and being involved with ACM is discussed in this source. Sammet mentions being in attendance at Hopper’s funeral and being fascinated by the number of people who also attended and were inspired by her.

Tertiary Sources

“Grace Murray Hopper.” Notable Women Scientists. Gale Group Inc. 1999. Print. This

source gives a brief summary of Hopper’s life. It includes information about Hopper becoming a computer scientist and her work in the Navy. While working as a computer scientist in the Navy, Hopper was fully committed and determined with her studies. This source mentions her creation and development of COBOL, the first English language programming system.

Other Sources

Gray, Paul. “Alan Turing. (Cover story).” Time 153.12 (1999): 147. Academic Search              Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.

Stross, Randal. “What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science?”. The New York             Times. November 15, 2008. Web. 24 October 2011.

ACM-W. Elaine Weyuker. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.

Borg, Anita and Whitney, Telle. “The Grace Hopper Celebration.”   Communications ofthe ACM 38.1 (1995): 50-51. Computers   & Applied Sciences Complete. EBSCO.   Web. 13 Nov.   2011.

Weyuker, Elaine. “ACM-W Celebrates Women In Computing.”   Communications Of  The ACM 52.6 (2009): 5. Academic   Search Complete. Web. 9 Nov. 2011.


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