Enjoy Desktops? Like Background? Hear to This Podcast

KATIE HAFNER: Hello there Science Chat audience!

I’m Katie Hafner, the host of Shed Ladies of Science. Each and every period is devoted to the lifestyle and perform of one scientist who has not gotten the recognition she deserves.

We’re calling this season “A Grasshopper in Really Tall Grass,” and it’s all about Klara Dan von Neumann. Klari, as she was referred to as by friends, was a person of the world’s initially computer system programmers.

I’ve been creating about personal computers for a actually very long time, extra than 30 a long time in point. I even wrote a background of the internet in 1996, termed Where by Wizards Remain Up Late. And the wizards? All adult males.

I have been on this beat for so long, I believed I understood all the key figures. But then I stumbled on Klara von Neumann’s identify this earlier 12 months, and I drew a blank. How had I missed her?

When I requested some massive-hitters in the laptop science world about her, they all experienced the similar reaction: Who?

I could not shake this experience that in this article was this genuinely “lost” lady of computing–who was nevertheless linked to extremely nicely-recognised histories and people today. She was included in nuclear weapons investigate, she worked for Los Alamos, she coded for the ENIAC, one particular of the earliest electronic computer systems. 

And she ran in a circle of famed scientists—people like Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and her very own spouse, John von Neumann, a well known Hungarian scientist who was regarded a person of the smartest people alive. 

I considered Klari could teach us a thing or two about this time–the dawn of digital desktops and nuclear warfare. And so we commenced digging. This season is the final result of what we discovered.

Here’s the trailer:


Not known #1: Do I know who Klara von Neumann is?

Not known #2: I’m ashamed to say I have hardly ever read of her.

Unidentified #1: Wasn’t she, did not she have one thing to do with the temperature?

Unidentified #3: I’ve heard of John von Neumann

Unidentified #4: I’m not even guaranteed how to pronounce her title.

Mysterious #5: Was she linked to Newman on Seinfeld?

KATIE HAFNER: I’m Katie Hafner, host of Misplaced Females of Science, the place we uncover the impressive get the job done of neglected scientists.

NATHAN ENSMENGER: What Klara von Neumann is performing is assisting to define what is possible on this new form of machine.

MARINA WHITMAN: She finally grew to become sort of a tremendous programmer.

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

GEORGE DYSON: Klara’s job was, type sorta hidden since she had labored on the extremely solution bomb calculations.

CLAIRE EVANS: Ladies bought to be programmers and got to make these a big influence on programming because that work was seen as not currently being essential. 

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

ANANYO BHATTACHARYA: Programming was this wholly new willpower, so genuinely everybody was starting on the ground floor as it were.

MARINA WHITMAN: She often claimed she favored it since she favored puzzles. And this was a type of puzzle.

THOMAS HAIGH: I mean, she’s like at Los Alamos as a person with totally no education in physics or mathematics speaking just one-on-one particular with Nobel prize winners, which is very extraordinary.

KATIE HAFNER: And she was functioning with a model new technologies, deep inside of a earth eternally adjusted by nuclear weapons.

CLAIRE EVANS: There’s this relationship between dying and computing that is inextricable and inescapable in this background.

KATIE HAFNER: Be part of us as we seek to recognize the origins of modern day computing, via one remarkable woman’s story.

GEORGE DYSON: She was type of there at the second of creation. If you look at this as a kind of, you know, cradle in a manger kind of factor, she, she was keeping the cradle.

KATIE HAFNER: Year 2 of Shed Women of all ages of Science coming March 31st. Pay attention where ever you get your podcasts.

[End trailer]

KATIE HAFNER: This time will just take us on a journey from wild events in Budapest and gambling sprees in Monte Carlo to the staid academic earth of Princeton and the wild west of Los Alamos in New Mexico. Klari’s eventful life presents colour to this pivotal moment in record. 

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

Tune in to Missing Girls of Science to get the comprehensive story of a grasshopper in very tall grass.