I had the great fortune to interview Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley for the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. A child refugee from Nazi Germany, she went on to found a feminist software startup at a time when few people even knew what software was, and even fewer cared about feminist business models that put women’s needs first. She and her mostly-women employees wrote some of the most important software for 20th century British industry and government–including programming the black box flight recorder for the Concorde. She eventually became a billionaire and now focuses on philanthropy–particularly autism related causes. She was also the founding donor of the Oxford Internet Institute. Listen & watch here or read the transcript here. The interview was conducted over video link between her home in London and my home in the US. It runs about an hour.
For a much longer and more exhaustive oral history (many hours) check out Dr. Tom Lean’s interview with her for the British Library Oral History “voices of science” collection.
At the Society for the History of Technology Meeting this coming weekend in Philadelphia, MIT Press will being doing a joint launch of my book and Edward Jones-Imhotep’s terrific new volume on a unique set of Cold War technological failures. It runs from 3:30-4:30 on Friday, October 27, at the MIT Press table in the SHOT book hall. Discounts, free bookmarks, and snacks will be available! Come on by.
The short guide below evolved out of a conversation with Miriam Posner (@miriamkp) of UCLA who was looking for ways to help her students read more quickly and effectively. These tips can help you retain more when reading academic texts and allow you to get through them at a quicker pace.
Here’s what I tell my students if they have trouble keeping up with the reading for my history and STS classes: Continue reading →
This year, at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, I am teaching a new and improved version of my popular course Women in Computing History. It was initally taught at Illinois Tech in Chicago last year, where it garnered some press attention.
Due to the interest the course generated with people beyond the walls of our classroom I annotated the syllabus with discussion topics and class notes to give a sense of what we did in each class meeting–and what kinds of questions might be useful if you do the readings on your own.
See my syllabus page for the newest version of the course–the old version is still available as well, for all you completionists who might want to look at the details of how the course has changed!