Nancy Hafkin’s Internet Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Speech

About 1988, I was run­ning a region­al devel­op­ment infor­ma­tion sys­tem at the United Nations eco­nom­ic com­mis­sion for Africa in Addis Ababa. It was based on exchange of infor­ma­tion with nodes in vir­tu­al­ly every African coun­try, and it was to be based on satel­lites for the exchange of that infor­ma­tion. Unfortunately the satel­lites weren’t there.

Working on ENIAC: The Lost Labors of the Information Age

The largest part of the ENIAC team by far were the peo­ple that were actu­ally build­ing the thing. And it’s inter­est­ing they’ve been for­got­ten by his­tory, because although their job titles were wire­men, tech­ni­cians, and assem­blers, being a busi­ness his­to­rian I looked up the account­ing records, and some­times they spell out the pay­roll. You sud­denly see all these women’s names like Ruth, Jane, Alice, Dorothy, Caroline, Eleanor show­ing up.

Kay Mauchly on Finding Out about ENIAC, Programming It, and Marrying John Mauchly

Then we were told we had to learn how to oper­ate this machine. Well, how do you go about that? And some­body from Moore School gave us a whole stack of blue­prints, and these were the wiring dia­grams for all the pan­els. And they said, Here, you can fig­ure out how the machine works and then fig­ure out how to pro­gram it.”

ENIAC Programmers Keynote at WITI New York Network Meeting 1998

I applied and went over and they just talked to us a lit­tle bit. We nev­er saw the machine or any­thing. So then they called us in and Herman Goldstine, who was the Army offi­cer liai­son com­ing in from Aberdeen, inter­viewed me. So Herman said to me, What do you think of elec­tric­i­ty?”

So I said, Well, I had a physics course and I knew that E=IR.”

So he said, No, I don’t mean that. I don’t care about that. Are you afraid of it?”