A few weeks ago we woke up with headlines that boasted of “what has never been achieved before in the world of tennis“, thanks to Rafa Nadal’s latest triumph. However, women like Serena Williams, Margaret Court or Steffi Graf have already exceeded that figure, 21 Grand Slams, years ago.
Precisely today, when we wanted to pay our little tribute to 3 other great women in history. Women for whom men were able to reach the moon and use their computers at home. Women who have been ignored by the general public until we decided to revisit the great moments in history.
Ladies and gentlemen of the big media, WE also do things and many times they are BIG THINGS. Look at them before you sentence sentences that you later have to regret.
Women who have changed the world.
Margaret Hamilton, the woman who guided a man to the moon
The same year that the first message was sent through the internet’s predecessor, there was a woman who made history. Margaret Hamilton, NASA’s first female engineer, made it possible for the first man to land on the moon in 1969.
Margaret was born in 1937 in Indiana, USA. From a very young age she excelled in mathematics, so she decided to study at the University of Michigan and later continue her studies at Farlham College, where she graduated in mathematics in 1958.
The degree must not have left him completely satisfied, so when his economy allowed him, he moved to Boston, where he continued studying mathematics, but in its most abstract version at Brandeis University.
At the age of 24, he began working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as Mit. There he worked with Professor Edward Norton Lorenz with whom he learned, among many other things that were very useful in his professional future, new programming languages.
After this stage, she managed to form part of the SAGE PHILCO-FORD project, for which she was in charge of developing software for the first computer that searched for unknown aircraft in airspace.
Thanks to the resounding success of this mission, she ended up working in the APOLO program, and this new project not only changed her life, it changed that of the entire community.
In addition, it was the American government itself that asked Hamilton to participate in the space program to design, together with the rest of the team, software that would make the Command Module and the Lunar Module of the Apollo 11 mission work, the purpose of which was to make astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins could walk on the moon.
They had tried a total of 4 times before getting a woman on the team…
This team was made up of astronauts, mathematicians, scientists… but it was she, the software engineer, who made the feat possible thanks to her contributions in which an asynchronous system designed by her gave priority to essential functions and discarded those that were not. they were.
Thanks to this system, all the alarms that appeared by mistake minutes before they reached the moon were ignored and an overload on the computer was avoided.
We wanted to end with a curiosity, Margaret, in addition to Mathematics, graduated in Philosophy, however, it seems much more curious to us that until 2003 she was not awarded any prize for her feat, when she was given the Exceptional Space Act Award given to him by NASA.
We at Phoenix hope that like her software, she too ignored this BIG MISTAKE.
Patty McHugh, the real mother of dragons
Now seriously, who wants to be a mother of dragons when they can be THE MOTHER OF THE BASEPLATE?
After reading the story that we summarize below, it has become clear to us that it is possible to make history simply thinking that you are doing something cool.
In 1981 IBM released its first personal computer. They existed before, but IBM made it an affordable device to have at home and expanded its use beyond professional and technological environments.
In the team that developed was Paty McHugh who became known as the mother of the motherboard.
That PC had among its components the first motherboard and was the predecessor of the ones we know today. The functions that today make the motherboard were encoded in the processor and this was a problem because if you wanted to modify something you had to rewrite the entire firmware to include new parts. IBM rethought that type of architecture to make it easier to manage. They began to work on an assembly system for different components connected to the same board that connected them to each other, so that when a new component was added, the new instructions were loaded into it and they did not have to modify the computer code. The most curious thing about this, apart from the fact that there was only one woman on the team, is that none of them imagined that they were making history. For them it was simply a cool commission that they had been given, however they revolutionized computing and the industry. Patty continued working at IBM until she became head of new business development and in a commemorative act she recognized that no one on the team had been aware that they were making history by democratizing the democratizing the use of the computer.
Katherine Johnson, the human computer.
And last but not least, as they say, we will talk about Katherine Johnson known as the human computer.
Katherine Johnson was born on August 26, 1918 into an African-American family. At just 10 years old, he enrolled in high school and four years later graduated to continue his studies at a historically black university.
We must bear in mind that at that time racial segregation was still the order of the day.
At 18, she graduated from West Virginia State College and in 1939 was the first black woman admitted to West Virginia University’s graduate school where she earned a Master’s degree in mathematics. She was the third African-American woman to have a Ph.D. In 1952 he joined NASA.
There she began to stand out calculating flight paths manually and it was thanks to her that astronauts like and Armstrong not only reached the moon but were able to return to earth safe and sound. In 2020 he was awarded the National Geographic Society’s Hubbert Medal for his achievements in research, discovery and exploration.
It is a shame that this award came after her death and even more so knowing that the astronauts who were able to travel to the moon thanks to her received her medal in 1969.
At the award ceremony they made it very clear that without their precise calculations 50 years ago it would have been impossible to take man to the moon. First, she helped NASA take a man into orbit and then she helped take them to the moon, quite a milestone, and more so as a woman of color at the time, with all the obstacles that that entailed.
In 1962 his calculations helped John Glenn orbit the earth and in 1969 he made the calculations that made it possible for Apollo 11 to reach the moon.
Before concluding this entry, we would like to highlight the punitiveness that the STABILO marker brand made a few years ago, which highlighted the image of a Katherine Johnson in the background with the fluorine of its marker, when it should have been the true protagonist of the photo.