Admiral Grace Hopper – Teaching Computers to Speak

Lead: When Grace Hopper got into the business in 1944, the number of people who had ever heard the word computer could not fill a small room. She stayed with it until she died.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content:. When the United States was sucked into World War II, Vassar College Professor Grace Murray Hopper could have avoided military service. She had a Yale PhD and was in a vital profession, a college math teacher barred from military service, but Grace Hopper loved the U.S. Navy. Her great-grandfather had been a rear admiral, and she battered the doors down and finished first in her midshipman class. The Navy wanted her mind, specifically, her ability to calculate and help operate the new generation of mechanical calculators that would be required if modern weapons were to reach their destructive potential.

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Transistor Radio

Lead: In 1954 Texas Instruments and its partner released for the holiday shopping season a remarkable new product which transformed entertainment and pointed to the electronic future: the transistor radio.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Just six years earlier, Bell Labs scientists had announced the invention of a primitive replacement for the vacuum tube. The glass enclosed tubes, invented in 1907 propelled the electronic world forward and made possible amplification, radio and long distance telephony, but tubes were slow, hot, bulky, and short-lived. The replacement was called a transistor or “transfer resistor.” It used the element germanium (and later silicon) covered on both sides with another element to create a tiny alternative to the vacuum tube which could act as an amplifier or a on/off switch.

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