Nanoseconds Associated with Grace Hopper
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- Hopper, Grace Murray
- This bundle consists of about one hundred pieces of plastic-coated wire, each about 30 cm (11.8 in) long. Each piece of wire represents the distance an electrical signal travels in a nanosecond, one billionth of a second. Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992), a mathematician who became a naval officer and computer scientist during World War II, started distributing these wire "nanoseconds" in the late 1960s in order to demonstrate how designing smaller components would produce faster computers.
- The "nanoseconds" in this bundle were among those Hopper brought with her to hand out to Smithsonian docents at a March 1985 lecture at NMAH. Later, as components shrank and computer speeds increased, Hopper used grains of pepper to represent the distance electricity traveled in a picosecond, one trillionth of a second (one thousandth of a nanosecond).
- Reference: Kathleen Broome Williams, Grace Hopper: Admiral of the Cyber Sea, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004.
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- plastic (overall material)
- metal (overall material)
- overall: 1 cm x 32 cm x 8 cm; 13/32 in x 12 19/32 in x 3 5/32 in
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- Medicine and Science: Mathematics
- Women Mathematicians
- Computers & Business Machines
- National Museum of American History
- Women's History
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