Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII

March 2, 2012
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

150 Columbia
University of Oregon

In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, a group of female mathematicians helped win a war and usher in the computer age.

Screening of “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII” and a discussion with filmmaker LeAnn Erickson

LeAnn Erickson is an associate professor, Department of Film and Media Arts, Temple University, and has been an independent video and filmmaker for more than 20 years.

In 1941, soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a secret military program was launched to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike the efforts to recruit Rosie to the factory, this search targeted female mathematicians who would become human “computers” for the U.S. military. From the bombing of Axis Europe to the assaults on Japanese strongholds, the women worked round-the-clock shifts creating ballistics tables that proved crucial to Allied success. Rosie made the weapons, but the female computers made them accurate. When the first electronic computer (ENIAC) was invented to aid the Army’s ballistic calculation efforts, six of these women were tapped to become its first programmers. “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII” will share this untold story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.

Sponsored by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE), the UO Women in Graduate Science, and the UO Women in Computer Science.

Saturday, March 3
Middle School Workshop
Willamette Hall