Appreciate Computers? Enjoy Background? Pay attention to This Podcast News and Investigation

KATIE HAFNER: Howdy Science Chat Audience / Hi there 60-Second Science Listeners!

I’m Katie Hafner, the host of Missing Women of all ages of Science. Each individual period is devoted to the everyday living and operate of one scientist who hasn’t gotten the recognition she warrants.

We’re calling this period “A Grasshopper in Extremely Tall Grass,” and it is all about Klara Dan von Neumann. Klari, as she was identified as by buddies, was 1 of the world’s to start with laptop programmers.

I have been creating about computers for a seriously very long time, a lot more than 30 a long time in reality. I even wrote a historical past of the net in 1996, named Where Wizards Continue to be Up Late. And the wizards? All men.

I’ve been on this conquer for so prolonged, I considered I knew all the important figures. But then I stumbled upon Klara von Neumann’s identify this previous 12 months, and I drew a blank. How experienced I skipped her?

When I questioned some large-hitters in the pc science globe about her, they all experienced the identical response: Who?

I couldn’t shake this feeling that in this article was this certainly “lost” woman of computing–who was nonetheless connected to very very well-recognized histories and people today. She was included in nuclear weapons investigation, she worked for Los Alamos, she coded for the ENIAC, one of the earliest digital desktops. 

And she ran in a circle of well known scientists—people like Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and her individual spouse, John von Neumann, a well-known Hungarian scientist who was considered one particular of the smartest people today alive. 

I believed Klari could train us a matter or two about this time–the dawn of digital desktops and nuclear warfare. And so we started off digging. This time is the result of what we discovered.

Here’s the trailer:


Mysterious #1: Do I know who Klara von Neumann is?

Not known #2: I’m humiliated to say I have never read of her.

Unknown #1: Wasn’t she, didn’t she have something to do with the weather conditions?

Mysterious #3: I’ve listened to of John von Neumann

Not known #4: I’m not even absolutely sure how to pronounce her name.

Unknown #5: Was she related to Newman on Seinfeld?

KATIE HAFNER: I’m Katie Hafner, host of Misplaced Women of Science, where by we uncover the remarkable function of overlooked scientists.

NATHAN ENSMENGER: What Klara von Neumann is doing is supporting to define what is feasible on this new kind of machine.

MARINA WHITMAN: She in the end became form of a tremendous programmer.

KATIE HAFNER: Their stories are normally untold. Their contributions unacknowledged.

GEORGE DYSON: Klara’s purpose was, type sorta hidden simply because she experienced worked on the really key bomb calculations.

CLAIRE EVANS: Girls acquired to be programmers and got to make these types of a large impact on programming for the reason that that position was noticed as not getting significant. 

KATIE HAFNER: In 1947, it was Klara and her code that created nuclear weapons simulations probable.

ANANYO BHATTACHARYA: Programming was this entirely new discipline, so genuinely every person was starting off on the ground floor as it were being.

MARINA WHITMAN: She usually mentioned she preferred it simply because she preferred puzzles. And this was a sort of puzzle.

THOMAS HAIGH: I signify, she’s like at Los Alamos as a person with totally no coaching in physics or mathematics conversing a single-on-1 with Nobel prize winners, which is quite unbelievable.

KATIE HAFNER: And she was performing with a model new technology, deep inside a environment endlessly modified by nuclear weapons.

CLAIRE EVANS: You will find this connection between loss of life and computing that is inextricable and inescapable in this record.

KATIE HAFNER: Be part of us as we look for to fully grasp the origins of modern-day computing, via one particular extraordinary woman’s story.

GEORGE DYSON: She was type of there at the instant of development. If you appear at this as a form of, you know, cradle in a manger kind of issue, she, she was holding the cradle.

KATIE HAFNER: Year 2 of Missing Girls of Science coming March 31st. Hear anywhere you get your podcasts.

[End trailer]

KATIE HAFNER: This period will acquire us on a journey from wild events in Budapest and gambling sprees in Monte Carlo to the staid academic planet of Princeton and the wild west of Los Alamos in New Mexico. Klari’s eventful life presents shade to this pivotal minute in heritage. 

Married four–maybe five–times. Determine skating winner. Personal computer pioneer. How could we have missed her?

Tune in to Missing Ladies of Science to get the comprehensive tale of a grasshopper in really tall grass.