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Module 1 Women Inventors

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1 Module 1 Women Inventors
Women in Technology Module 1 Women Inventors

2 Click on the names and find out more about these Famous Women
Ellen Ochoa Lillian Gilbreth Sybilla Masters Hedy Lamarr Margaret Knight Frances Gabe Valerie Thomas Grace Hopper Finished

3 Grace Hopper Grace Hopper developed a common language with which computers could communicate called Common Business-Oriented Language or COBOL, now the most widely used computer business language in the world.   In 1973, she was elected into the National Academy of Engineering. Grace Hopper was the first woman to graduate from Yale University with a Ph.D. in Mathematics and the first woman to ever reach the rank of admiral in the US Navy. Hopper also became famous by originating the term "Bug" or "Computer Bug" when she found a real bug in a computer.

4 Lillian Gilbreth Election to the National Academy of Engineering is known as the highest honor accorded an engineer. The first woman ever to be elected to the NAE.  Lillian Gilbreth is best known for her work to help workers in industry with her classic Time & Motion Studies, which supported work simplification and industrial efficiency.   Gilbreth was one of the first scientists to recognized the effects of stress and lack of sleep on the worker.

5 Sybilla Masters Sybilla Masters was the first American woman inventor in recorded history (1712), but the patent had to be filed in her husband's name because she was female. Masters invented a new corn mill for cleaning and curing the Indian corn crops that the colonist in early America received as a gift from the native peoples.  Sybilla Masters's innovation allowed the corn to be processed into many different food and cloth products. 

6 Ellen Ochoa Ochoa's pre-doctoral work at Stanford University in electrical engineering led to the development of an optical system designed to detect imperfections in repeating patterns. This invention, patented in 1987, can be used for quality control in the manufacturing of various intricate parts.  Dr. Ochoa later patented an optical system which can be used to robotically manufacture goods or in robotic guiding systems. In all Ellen Ochoa has received three patents, most recently in 1990. In addition to being an woman inventor, Dr. Ochoa is also a research scientist and astronaut for NASA who has logged hundreds of hours in space.  She is the world's first Hispanic female astronaut.

7 Margaret Knight In 1870 she became the first women to receive a patent.  Margaret or ‘Mattie’ as she was called in her childhood, made sleds and kites for her brothers while growing up in Maine. When she was just 12 years old, she had an idea for a stop-motion device that could be used in textile mills to shut down machinery, preventing workers from being injured.  Knight eventually received some 26 patents. Her machine that made flat-bottomed paper bags is still used to this very day!                             

8 Valerie Thomas Thomas received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter. This futuristic invention extends the idea of television, with its images located flatly behind a screen, to having three dimensional projections appear as though they were right in your living room. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, the illusion transmitter will be as popular as the TV is today. Valerie Thomas received numerous NASA awards, including the GSFC Award of Merit, the highest award given by GSFC.

9 Hedy Lamarr 1940's Silver Screen superstar with the help of composer George Antheil invented a secret communication system in an effort to help the allies defeat the Germans in World War II. The invention, patented in 1941, manipulated radio frequencies between transmission and reception to develop an unbreakable code so that top-secret messages could not be intercepted.  

10 Frances Gabe The ultimate convenience invention most certainly is Frances Gabe's self-cleaning house. The house, a combination of some 68 time-, labor-, and space-saving mechanisms, makes the concept of housework obsolete .  After 40 years of work, Frances Gabe actually lives in her invention in Newberg, Oregon.

11 Thank You for taking this Module
This is the first of many to come. Hopefully you've learned that Women in Technology are making significant contributions. To learn more about Women in Technology please go to

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