Grace Hopper was an American mathematician and United States Navy rear admiral. She was a pioneer of computer programming and she popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages.
Hopper earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University and then became a professor at Vassar College. At the age of 34, she attempted to enlist in the Navy during WWII but was rejected because of her age, her weight to height ratio being too low, and that her profession was too valuable to the war effort. After her denial, she joined the United States Navy reserve where she was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard and served on the Mark I computer programming staff. She went on to help develop COBOL and developed the implementation of standards for testing computer systems.
Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve at the age of 60, in 1966. The Navy recalled her to active duty multiple times over the next 20 years, leading her to be promoted from a commander, to a captain to a rear admiral by the time she retired for good in 1986. She then went on to work for Digital Equipment Corporation where she worked until her death in 1992. She was interred with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.