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/ blogs / 4 Pieces of Everyday Tech and the Women Behind Each

4 Pieces of Everyday Tech and the Women Behind Each

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When people think about the tech space, many names come to mind, but typically, the list is exclusive to men. But the truth is that many incredible women are responsible for important scientific advancements. Some of their everyday tech inventions even impact our daily lives. In the spirit of the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science,” we would like to pay tribute to several brilliant women and their contributions to tech and science. This blog looks at four women and their scientific breakthroughs.

Before diving in, it’s important to emphasize that this list is by no means exhaustive. The science and technology sector has many critical female figures, both past and present, responsible for making significant innovations. For example, out of the 10,000 code-breaking experts hired by the American government during WWII, over 75% were women. Below is a list of four pieces of every tech and the many incredible women responsible.

1. Hedy Lamar: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS

Image source:

Hedy Lamar (originally named Hedwig Eva Kiesler) is a key figure who helped develop the technology that laid the foundation for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The inspiration for this technology came during WWII. She discovered that the US army’s radio-controlled torpedoes were highly susceptible to jamming and being set off course. 

In response to this problem, Lamar created a “frequency hopping” signal, now known as wireless technology, which protects the signal and helps to prevent any possibility of jamming or tampering by enemy forces. This technology, known as the “spread spectrum,” is used in Bluetooth, GPS devices, and Wi-Fi.

2. Katherine Johnson: Space Exploration

Image source: NASA

In 1953, when the United States was openly racially segregated, an African-American woman named Katherine Johnson began working for NASA at the NACA West Area Computing unit. Johnson’s work is directly responsible for making the moon landing a reality. Without her brilliance and ability to calculate aspects such as the flight’s trajectory, the United States might have never made it to space.   

One of the most notable moments in Johnson’s career came in 1962 during NASA’s orbital mission of John Glenn. During this time, NASA requested Johnson’s assistance to ensure this upcoming mission’s success. 

Ultimately, the flight was a tremendous success and a pivotal moment in the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The astronauts were reluctant to put their lives in the hands of a computer due to potential electrical blackouts. That’s when Johnson enters the picture. John Glenn, the head engineer at NASA, is famous for stating that when it came to Johnson’s calculations, “if she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

3. Grace Murray Hopper: Computer Programming

Image source: Britannica

Besides being a technical genius, Grace Murray Hopper was also a naval admiral. Hopper worked to solve many valuable calculations during WWII, although her most significant accomplishment was her invention of computer programming. 

As the former head programmer for UNIVAC, the first-generation electronic digital computer, Hopper developed COBOL, which set the basis for programming languages such as Python and JavaScript. Major corporations, such as Microsoft, would later apply these languages as the foundation for their operating systems.

She is famous for coining the s term “debugging and bug,” which relates to her physically having to remove moths from the inside of a Mark 1. Additionally, Hopper is also responsible for popularizing the phrase, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

4. Radia Perlman: The Development of the Internet

Image source: Internet Hall of Fame

Last but certainly not least is Radia Perlman, who is responsible for contributing in large part to the development of the internet. Perlman, an American programmer and engineer, created what is known as the “spanning tree protocol” (STP). Her work created “Traffic Rule” for the internet.

Now STP is known as a Layer 2 network protocol that works to prevent “looping” from occurring within a specific network. Looping appears when a computer network uses more than one active path to transport data to the same destination. In the end, this results in the information finding its way on the additional pathways and can leave a network inoperable.  

Additionally, Perlman is responsible for adding improvements to the “tree-based” Ethernet, in which she designed TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links). This system provides Ethernet with an optimized bandwidth, giving people everywhere better Wi-Fi connections. Without a doubt, Radia Perlman is a truly remarkable person, programmer, and gifted inventor.  

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