Hidden Figures?

hidden-figures

Can you imagine what it must have been like for these women in the early 1960’s? They had two strikes against them before they could even begin to count in society: their colour and their sex.

Even though they were smart, bordering on genius, the system was stacked against them. Their strength was in their ability to adapt to changes and in some instances to make those changes happen for others.

Colored Computers

When I first saw these words on the door of their basement office, I thought they were referring to machines, like the iMacs of yesteryear.

slot-imac-5-colors

But I was wrong: the term “computers” was referring to the women who did the calculations using pencil and paper, and machines. The “colored” referred to anyone who was not white.

The Women Behind the Scenes

human-computers

There is a saying that states that ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’… I believe this to be true. As far as the Space Race was concerned, NASA had quite a few women.

It’s just that we never saw photographic evidence of this, while it was happening. Now, in the last few months, there have been two productions highlighting Katherine Johnson’s contribution to the work that they did: this film and an episode of “Timeless”.

IBM Punch Cards

ibm-026-key-punch

I studied computer programming in the fall of 1969 with the Electronic Computer Programming Institute (ECPI) in Toronto. As far as I know, it no longer exists. But it served as a primer for understanding how computers were going to change the world. What you see above is an IBM 026 Key Punch which demonstrates how to read the holes in the card.

We no longer have to use these cards to communicate with computers, but the idea that our symbols have to be ‘encoded’ into something a computer can understand should alert us to the power of numbers in the binary world.

These are the ‘real’ hidden figures of the computer age.

 

Picture credits

Hidden Figures courtesy of google.com

iMacs courtesy of apple.com

Human Computers courtesy of history.com

IBM 026 Key Punch courtesy of IBM.com

Advertisements

About cdsmiller17

I am an Astrologer who also writes about world events. My first eBook "At This Point in Time" is available through most on-line book stores. I have now serialized my second book "The Star of Bethlehem" here. And to give my blog pages something lighter, I'm sharing some of my personal photographs, too.
This entry was posted in reviews, showbusiness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s