Mothers of Innovation: 5 Women Who Helped Shape the Modern Tech World

Have you made the Sunday brunch reservation yet? Ordered the Spring Awakening flower bouquet? Written the heartfelt note? Mother’s Day is this weekend, so in between your last bits of planning, celebrate a few “mothers” of the tech innovations we enjoy today. This list doesn’t scratch the surface of the women, past and present, who changed the game, but it’s a good place to start.

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852): The First Computer Programmer

In a prophetic fit of brilliance, Lovelace created the first algorithm for a computer—before the computer even existed.

Grace Hopper (1906-1992): The Queen of Software

Grace “Amazing Grace” Hopper was a computer scientist who created the first computer language compiler, developed some of the early English-language programming languages, and helped program the Mark 1 computer for the United States Navy.

Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-): A Woman in Space

As math and tech wiz in the early days of computer programming, Granville created software for NASA that analyzed satellite orbits for the Project Mercury space program.

Susan Kare (1954-): The Icon Icon

Kare is an artist and graphic designer who created the icons and fonts for the original Mac computer, adding a humanizing element to the machine and making it more navigable. She’s since done design work for companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Arlene Harris (1948-): The First Lady of Wireless

Harris is a pioneer and an inventor who holds many wireless communications patents and invented the Jitterbug, a cell phone designed for seniors. She also created the first prepaid cellular management system.

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