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Top Secret Rosies

LeAnn Erickson; Erickson, LeAnn; Kanopy (Firm)
Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
In 1942 a secret U.S. military program was launched to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike the efforts to recruit Rosie the Riveter to the factory, this clandestine search targeted female mathematicians who would become human 'computers' for the U.S. Army. From the bombing of Axis Europe to the assaults on Japanese strongholds, women worked around-the-clock six days a week, 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 developed to aid the Army's calculation efforts, six of these women were tapped to become its first programmers. Top Secret Rosies is the as-yet-untold story of women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. This is the chronicle of four very different women who worked as human computers at the University of Pennsylvania from 1942-1946. Capturing the opportunities and exhilaration of the times and exploring the moral dilemmas inherent in their work, Top Secret Rosies follows their efforts as they labored night and day to create the mathematical computations that made every Allied bomb and bullet more deadly.
Director
LeAnn Erickson
Release Date
2010
Language
English
Notes
Title from title frames.
Published
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2014.
Recording Info
Originally produced by PBS in 2010.
Publisher no.
1122786 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 60 min.) : digital, .flv file, sound
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
  • Staff View

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    a| In 1942 a secret U.S. military program was launched to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike the efforts to recruit Rosie the Riveter to the factory, this clandestine search targeted female mathematicians who would become human 'computers' for the U.S. Army. From the bombing of Axis Europe to the assaults on Japanese strongholds, women worked around-the-clock six days a week, 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 developed to aid the Army's calculation efforts, six of these women were tapped to become its first programmers. Top Secret Rosies is the as-yet-untold story of women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. This is the chronicle of four very different women who worked as human computers at the University of Pennsylvania from 1942-1946. Capturing the opportunities and exhilaration of the times and exploring the moral dilemmas inherent in their work, Top Secret Rosies follows their efforts as they labored night and day to create the mathematical computations that made every Allied bomb and bullet more deadly.
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