Kathy Kleiman, author of Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer, will tell how she tracked down these women and captured their stories starting at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the free Discovery Center Community Forum at Havre de Grace Middle/High School, 445 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace, MD 21078.
ENIAC is the world’s first all-electronic, programmable general purpose digital computer, which was designed between 1943 and 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania to compute the trajectories of artillery shells for the U.S. Army Ballistics Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. ENIAC stands for “electronic numerical integrator and computer.” It reduced the manual labor of traditional calculations from days to 10 seconds.
The women were called “computers” because their original job was to compute the trajectories manually. Kleiman will tell the exciting story of how they became ENIAC’s first programmers because they knew the steps it had to follow before there were any instructions or the programming languages we have now. Without her research, their names and contributions would have been lost to history.
The event starts with an author meet-and-greet at 5:30 pm. Kleiman will begin her talk at 6:30 pm, followed by book signing at 7:30 pm. A limited number of books will be available for sale at the event. It also is available for purchase when you register to attend on Eventbrite at https://untoldstory.eventbrite.com/.
This Community Forum is co-sponsored by the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge, which will be telling ENIAC’s story, and the Senior Science Society, the Women’s Heritage Center, and the Historical Society of Harford County.
The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge will be opening its Preview Center soon in Belcamp, MD. Its mission is to instill in children and adults a passion for science and technology by telling the story of the technologies developed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, from ENIAC to the first bomb-sniffing dogs, as well as offering interactive exhibits showcasing modern technology such as 3D printing and the science behind Maryland agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay.
The goal of the Senior Science Society is to work through Harford Community College and local educational, business, government organizations, and the Discovery Center to help Harford County schoolchildren and their parents learn to love science. They also assist teachers at all levels from elementary school to college by acting as a sounding board and providing scientific advice, cooperative mentoring, and encouragement.
The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center recognizes, documents, and celebrates the historical and current contributions of Maryland women in science, the arts, the military, business, politics, and other fields through exhibits, events, and online features. Their exhibit space is located in the Marian House/Women’s Industrial Exchange at 333 N. Charles Street in Baltimore and is open by appointment and for special events.
Founded in 1885, the Historical Society of Harford County is the oldest county historical society in Maryland. It sponsors a wide variety of events throughout the year and has collections including County Court records dating back to the 1600s, a Research Library with vast genealogical resources, and an archive of over 50,000 photographs, plus paper records, textiles, artifacts, and artwork detailing the story of Harford County, as well as a gift shop.