“In early December 1941, Betty Jean Jennings was a freshman completing her first semester at a rural Missouri college. In Philadelphia, Doris and Shirley Blumberg were seniors at Girl’s High and Marlyn Wescoff was completing a minor in business machines at Temple University. In an era of limited career opportunities for women, these bright students anticipated low paying careers as schoolteachers or bookkeepers. But on Sunday, December 7, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and changed these young women’s lives forever. With Pearl Harbor suddenly drawing the US in to WWII, the Army launched a frantic national search for women mathematicians.”
So we celebrate both Mother’s Day AND Mothers of Invention (no, not the Frank Zappa band in the 70′s!) Day today. In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, this group of female mathematicians helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. Seventy years later their story has finally been told.
For more, check out this website on the incredible story. It may be worth a Netflix subscription just to see it online!