Who Is Grace Hopper? Google Doodle Celebrates Computer Genius’ 107th Birthday

Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper was celebrated with a Google Doodle on her birthday, Dec. 9. Google

Many Internet users on Monday began to wonder who Grace Hopper was after Google issued its new doodle. The computer scientist was known as "the first lady of software," and the Google Doodle appeared on what would have been her 107th birthday, the Los Angeles Times wrote.

Hopper was a little bit of a contrarian and reportedly had a résumé that was four pages long. She was also a government worker who liked to try out new ideas and didn’t have much patience for people who only saw things in shades of black-and-white.

"The only phrase I've ever disliked is, 'Why, we've always done it that way,'" she was once quoted as saying, according to the LA Times. "I always tell young people, 'Go ahead and do it. You can always apologize later.' "  

She was a graduate of Yale University with a doctorate in mathematics and in 1943 she joined the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Hopper rose up the ranks in the Navy and eventually earned the title of rear admiral. As a Navy computer programmer, she coined the terms “bug” and “debug.”

Hopper also created COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language,) the program that allows computers to correspond through numbers and language.

Hopper, who was nicknamed “Amazing Grace,” was awarded the U.S. Defense Department's highest honor, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, for exceptionally meritorious service.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman reportedly said at the time: "She has challenged at every turn the dictates of a mindless bureaucracy.”

The Navy named a destroyer vessel after Hopper. She apparently never retired from the service, and became the oldest woman in the armed forces at 76.

Happy 107th birthday Amazing Grace!

Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella

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