Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was a Victorian-era mathematician and pioneer in computer science. She was the only daughter of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Annabella Milbanke, who encouraged her to study mathematics. Her mathematical talents brought her into contact with British mathematician Charles Babbage and his social circle.
She translated an article on Babbage’s invention and added her own comments, becoming known as the world’s first computer programmer. She died of uterine cancer at age 36. In her honor, the second Tuesday in October is celebrated as “Ada Lovelace Day,” a day to highlight women in STEM fields, including computing. It also serves to encourage young women to follow in their footsteps.
Grace Hopper was fascinated by machines from an early age and loved taking things apart and putting them back together. She grew up to become one of the most influential women in computer science, credited with creating the first compiler language and coining the term “debugging.” Google celebrated her achievements by releasing a special Doodle on what would have been her 110th birthday.
Hopper was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Vassar College with degrees in math and physics. She then went to Yale University where she received her master’s and Ph.D in math.
The ophthalmologist and researcher Patricia Bath is known as the first African American woman to receive a medical patent, according to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She also holds the distinction of being the first Black woman to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first black female director of an ophthalmology residency program in the United States (the King-Drew-UCLA Ophthalmology Residency Program).
The daughter of Rupert Bath, the first black motorman in the New York City subway system, and Gladys Bath, a domestic worker, Bath’s parents encouraged her to pursue a career in science. She began to show her aptitude for science in high school when she became the editor of Charles Evans Hughes High School’s scientific paper and won numerous awards for her work.