The ENIAC Programmers: The Women Behind the First Modern Computer-Kathy Kleiman
The Not Old Better Show Smithsonian Associates Author Interview Series
Welcome to The Not Old Better Show on radio and podcast. I’m Paul Vogelzang, and we’ve got another great show as part of our Smithsonian Associates Art Of Living author interview series. Thank you so much for listening. We’ve got a great guest today, who I’ll introduce in just a moment…But, quickly, if you missed any episodes, last week was our 656th episode, and we spoke to author Peter Alagona about his new book, Accidental Ecosystem…a great interview about the rise in animals living in urban America. Two weeks ago, I spoke with Dr. Chantel Prat about how we’re wired and the human brain’s adventure for each of us. If you missed those shows, you can go back and check them out along with my entire backlog of shows, all free for you there on our website, NotOldBetter.com…and if you leave a review, we will read it at the end of each show…leave reviews on Apple Podcasts for us.
As I said, our guest today is Kathy Kleiman, author, author, educator, and attorney who’s written the new book, Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer and will be appearing at Smithsonian Associates coming up…check our show notes for details and more information.
After the end of World War II, top-secret research continued across the United States as engineers and programmers rushed to complete their confidential assignments. Among them were six pioneering women tasked with figuring out how to program the new Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).
The world’s first general-purpose, programmable, all-electronic computer, ENIAC, was built to calculate a single ballistic trajectory in 20 seconds rather than 40 hours by a human hand—but there were no instruction codes or programming languages in existence to guide the women. They succeeded, but their story was never told to the reporters and scientists fascinated by the huge computer after it became public—and it was lost.
That, of course, is our guest today, author Kathy Kleiman, reading from her new book, Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer
Join Kathy Kleiman and me as she talks all about these women programmers and the campaign to restore these women to their rightful place as technological revolutionaries and shares why the ENIAC programmers’ groundbreaking work still deserves to be celebrated.
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