In 1942 a secret US military program was launched to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike the efforts to recruit Rosie to the factory, this search targeted female mathematicians who would become human 'computers' for the Army. From the bombing of Axis Europe to the assaults on Japanese strongholds, women worked round-the-clock shifts creating ballistics tables for every weapon in the US arsenal. 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. While the work of these human computers proved crucial to allied victory, it also carried a moral weight - how to square the larger issue of ending a world war against the personal recognition that their mathematical computations made every Allied bomb and gun more deadly. The summer of 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII, yet the amazing account ...
In war, math may be the most secret weapon of all.
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