Grace Hopper, widely considered the "first lady of software," was honored by Google on Monday with a search engine doodle of the late computer sciences pioneer on what would have been her 107th birthday.
Nicknamed "Amazing Grace," Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray in New York City in 1906. Having married NYU professor Vincent Foster Hopper in 1930 and then later divorced him in 1945, the "first lady of software" retained his surname throughout her life.
Among her many achievements, Hopper is credited with having taught computers to speak and been the co-inventor of COBOL, a business-oriented programming language.
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Having earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in 1930, Hopper signed up with the U.S. Navy in 1943, where she served intermittently for the next 43 years, involuntarily retiring for good in 1986 at the age of 80. Hopper originally retired at 60 years of age in 1966 at the rank of commander in the Naval Reserve, however due to her mathematical abilities and knowledge of the Navy's computer programs, was called back several times in subsequent decades.
Hopper received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal – the Department of Defense’s highest honor – at her retirement ceremony. At the event, former Navy Secretary John Lehman said of Hopper that "she has challenged at every turn the dictates of a mindless bureaucracy."
Having been committed to innovation and education throughout her life, CBS News reported that Hopper once said
, "The only phrase I've ever disliked is, 'Why, we've always done it that way.' I always tell young people, 'Go ahead and do it. You can always apologize later.'"
In addition to honoring Hopper on Monday, Google also used her birthday as an opportunity to promote the Hour of Code campaign, which is aimed at getting 5 million students in 33,000 classrooms worldwide to learn at least one hour of computer science this week, CNET.com reported
In a video, which was linked to on the Google homepage on Monday, we see actors, athletes and politicians promoting coding to today's youth with the message "Be a maker, a creator, an innovator. Get started now with an Hour of Code."
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