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27 May 2015 @ 09:15 pm
The Table has started its Travels  
The robot table was delivered to Manchester Earth Sciences today and will hopefully make its way to Cheltenham over the weekend.

Meanwhile I have trained some minions (which included my boss, so possibly minions isn't the right term) and taken a delivery of T-shirts which turned out to be for the Department of Law and Social Justice. I continue to live in hope that the team will all match next week, although there are only two days left for the T-shirts to put in an appearance.

Here is a photo of Hedy Lamarr, after which one of the lego robot dinosaurs is named. I had to explain to minions that she co-invented the frequency hopping spread spectrum system that underpins modern Bluetooth and Wifi communication. It's interesting that I tend to think the stories about the various female pioneers in Computing are somewhat overused as part of the general drive to encourage more women into the subject and yet then I find out that actually most people haven't heard them. I particularly love the idea that she teamed up with an avant-garde pianist in order to prevent the Nazis jamming allied ship-to-torpedo communication because obviously the team needed to improve the US torpedo technology should consist of a Hollywood actress and an avant-garde pianist - it sounds more like the premise for a spoof spy show than something in real life. I'm wondering if I should ask for Hollywood actresses vs. Nazis for Yuletide this year. I also love the idea that the patterns of frequency hopping used in their original system are based on piano rolls (because, of course).

I think they had all heard of Grace Hopper though B. hadn't. I forgave him because he's only a biologist.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/158600.html.
philmophlegm: gordonfreemanphilmophlegm on May 27th, 2015 09:03 pm (UTC)
Quiz question: Why is my userpic relevant to this post?
louisedennislouisedennis on May 27th, 2015 09:08 pm (UTC)
*squints at user pic, fails to recognise character, checks pp's userpic tags, googles Gordon Freeman, skims Wikipedia page, notes that the word salad that is the title of his fictional PhD includes "wavelength", decides not to read in detail*

Umm, no idea?
philmophlegm: gordonfreemanphilmophlegm on May 27th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
In Half-Life 2, there is a scientist who has a pet headcrab called Lamarr. Headcrab...hedy...lamarr. Geddit? Hilarity ensues.
lukadreaminglukadreaming on May 27th, 2015 09:32 pm (UTC)
Good grief, the youth of today! I knew about Hedy Lamarr and my knowledge of science rests on a grade C O Level from when dinosaurs walked the earth! Didn't know about Grace Hopper, though ...
parrot_knightparrot_knight on May 28th, 2015 12:57 am (UTC)
Likewise (and no O Level to boast of...)
louisedennislouisedennis on May 28th, 2015 07:37 am (UTC)
Maybe its one of those facts that you see a lot if you have any interest in the History of Science or in Women in Science, but which tends not to get mentioned much outside of those contexts. It always surprises me how comparatively few scientists have any real interest in the history of the subject.
louisedennislouisedennis on May 28th, 2015 07:36 am (UTC)
I'm fairly sure I never heard about her at school, but lists of Women in Science/Computer Science/Engineering always seem include her, so I've heard a lot about her since.

Grace Hopper is rightly something of a giant in the field. There's a clip on YouTube of her being interviewed by Letterman when she was in her 90s. It's not a great interview, he treats her like a bit of a doddering granny and, for whatever reason, she plays up to that, but it does give you a glimpse of the formidable woman she must have been when younger.