Tasked with maintaining the computer that helped the Navy produce tables for aiming artillery and bombs during World War II, it's said Hopper once removed a moth that had flown into the machine's guts, literally "debugging" the computer. (See "6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to Sexism.")
Born in New York City on December 9, 1906, Hopper went on to receive a doctorate in mathematics from Yale University in 1934. (See also "Why Is a Woman Who Loves Science So Surprising?")
Hopper taught mathematics at her alma mater Vassar from 1931 to 1943—the last two years as an associate professor—when she joined the Navy Reserves in 1943.
The programmer, also known as "Amazing Grace," first retired from the Navy in 1966 as a commander, but would be called back to active duty in 1967. She finally left the Navy as a rear admiral in 1985.
The United States destroyer U.S.S. Hopper is named for her.
Hopper died on January 1, 1992.
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