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Inspiring Quotes from 10 Influential Women in Tech

1. “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
— Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (pictured), the U.S. Navy’s oldest active-duty officer at the time of her retirement, developer of the first compiler for a computer programming language, developer of UNIVAC I and COBOL, and coiner of the terms “computer bug” and “debugging.”

2. “I was told I'd never make it to VP rank because I was too outspoken. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping women in their 'place.' So, let's make that place the executive suite and start more of our own companies.”
— Jean Bartik, one of the first programmers of the ENIAC; she later went on to work with BINAC and UNIVAC I computers, then became one of the early editors of computer information publishing at Auerbach Publishers, Data Decisions, and McGraw-Hill. 

3. “I was a bit of an artist, and somewhere along the way had gotten the idea that computers could be used for animation and artists, because in-betweening was so tedious. . . Of course, everyone thought I was nuts.”
— Carla Meninsky, engineer for Atari, who coded Atari 2600 games Warlords, Dodge ‘Em, and Star Raiders.

4. “We accepted education as the means to rise above the limitations that a prejudiced society endeavored to place upon us.”
— Evelyn Boyd Granville, one of the first black women in the U.S. to earn a PhD in Mathematics, and later, an analyist and developer in IBM for Project Vanguard and Project Mercury, which she called “the most interesting job of [her] lifetime.”

5. “[T]he world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing.”
— Radia Pearlman, “the Mother of the Internet,” IEEE fellow, inventor of Spanning-Tree Protocol (STP), TRILL, and TORTIS, a programming language for children.

6. “Most engineers like to proceed from A to B to C in a series of logical steps. I'm the rare engineer who says the answer is obviously Z and we will get on with that while you guys work out how to do all the intermediate steps. It makes me a dangerous person to employ in IT but a useful one."
— Sophie Wilson, designer of the Acorn Micro-Computer and BBC Micro, BBC BASIC programming language, and the ARM (Acorn RISC Machine), a foundational technology for handheld computing devices.

7. “ I designed the executive program for handling situations when there are too many calls, to keep it operating efficiently without hanging up on itself. Basically it was designed to keep the machine from throwing up its hands and going berserk.”
— Erna Schneider Hoover on her revolutionary computerized telephone switching method for Bell Laboratories. Hoover was awarded one of the earliest software patents and became the first female supervisor of any technical department at Bell, cementing her place as a pioneer in modern communications technology.  

8. “Any girl can be glamorous. All she has to do is stand still and look stupid.”
— Hedy Lamarr, “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” Hollywood “Golden Age” actress, and co-developer of a frequency-hopping/spread spectrum technology based on a player piano. Lamarr never earned a penny from her patent; after her patent expired, the technology was used in guided torpedoes by the U.S. Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

9. "I think it's very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men."
— Karen Spärck Jones, Professor of Computers and Information at Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Spärck Jones was a vocal advocate for women in computing and technology; she introduced the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF) used by most search engines today.

10. “If I am remembered at all, I would like to be remembered as my family storyteller. It has been a great life.”
— Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, who is remembered as one of the original six female programmers of ENIAC, software designer for BINAC and UNIVAC I, and wife of John Mauchly, co-inventor of the ENIAC and UNIVAC I.

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15 Great F. Scott Fitzgerald Quotes

Though he was just 44 when he died, F. Scott Fitzgerald left us with a wealth of wisdom and no shortage of quips. Here are 15 of our favorites.

1. ON EXCLAMATION POINTS

"Cut out all of these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke."

2. ON WRITING

"You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say."

3. ON WHAT MAKES A GOOD STORY

"What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story."

4. ON HAPPINESS

"I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life."

5. ON BUSINESS

"No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there."

6. ON EMPATHY

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had."

7. ON INNOCENCE

"I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again."

8. ON JEALOUSY

"Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck."

9. ON CHANGE

“I’ll be different, but somewhere lost inside me there’ll always be the person I am tonight.”

10. ON LITERATURE

"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."

11. ON YOUTH

"Youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness."

12. ON ALCOHOL

"Here’s to alcohol, the rose-colored glasses of life."

13. ON OVERINDULGENCE

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right."

14. ON PERSEVERANCE

"Nothing any good isn’t hard."

15. ON LOVE

"I love her, and that is the beginning and end of everything."

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13 Electrifying Nikola Tesla Quotes
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The greatest geek who ever lived had more than just science on the brain. While he was alive, Nikola Tesla’s advancements were frequently and famously attributed to others. But history has shown us the magnitude of his work, a sentiment best expressed by Fiorello LaGuardia’s eulogy: “Tesla is not really dead. Only his poor wasted body has been stilled. The real, the important part of Tesla lives in his achievement which is great, almost beyond calculation, an integral part of our civilization, of our daily lives.” Here are 13 electric quotes from the legendary scientist/engineer/inventor.

1. ON GENDER EQUALITY

“... The female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose. Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.”

—From a 1926 interview by John B. Kennedy, “When Woman Is Boss"

2. ON BEING AMERICAN

“... The papers, which 30 years ago conferred upon me the honor of American citizenship, are always kept in a safe, while my orders, diplomas, degrees, gold medals and other distinctions are packed away in old trunks.”

—From “My Inventions V – The Magnifying Transmitter," 1919

3. ON BEING SERBIAN

“There is something within me that might be illusion as it is often case with young delighted people, but if I would be fortunate to achieve some of my ideals, it would be on the behalf of the whole of humanity. If those hopes would become fulfilled, the most exciting thought would be that it is a deed of a Serb.”

—From an address at the Belgrade train station, 1892

4. ON UNIVERSAL PEACE

Blue Portrait of Nikola Tesla, the only painting Tesla posed for
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

"We begin to think cosmically. Our sympathetic feelers reach out into the dim distance. The bacteria of the 'Weltschmerz' are upon us. So far, however, universal harmony has been attained only in a single sphere of international relationship. That is the postal service. Its mechanism is working satisfactorily, but—how remote are we still from that scrupulous respect of the sanctity of the mail bag!"

—From “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace,” 1905

5. ON HIS LEGACY

“What the result of these investigations will be the future will tell; but whatever they may be, and to whatever this principle may lead, I shall be sufficiently recompensed if later it will be admitted that I have contributed a share, however small, to the advancement of science.”

—From “The Tesla Alternate Current Motor,” 1888

6. ON PATIENCE AND PLANNING

“That is the trouble with many inventors; they lack patience. They lack the willingness to work a thing out slowly and clearly and sharply in their mind, so that they can actually 'feel it work.' They want to try their first idea right off; and the result is they use up lots of money and lots of good material, only to find eventually that they are working in the wrong direction. We all make mistakes, and it is better to make them before we begin.”

—From “Tesla, Man and Inventor,” 1895

7. ON ALIENS

“Most certainly, some planets are not inhabited, but others are, and among these there must exist life under all conditions and phases of development.”

—From “How to Signal to Mars,” 1910

8. ON INDIVIDUALISM AND MANKIND

"When we speak of man, we have a conception of humanity as a whole, and before applying scientific methods to the investigation of his movement, we must accept this as a physical fact. But can anyone doubt to-day that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. I cut myself in the finger, and it pains me: this finger is a part of me. I see a friend hurt, and it hurts me, too: my friend and I are one. And now I see stricken down an enemy, a lump of matter which, of all the lumps of matter in the universe, I care least for, and it still grieves me. Does this not prove that each of us is only part of a whole?"

—From “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy,” 1900

9. ON WASTEFULNESS

Nikola Tesla, with Rudjer Boscovich's book "Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis", in front of the spiral coil of his high-voltage Tesla coil transformer at his East Houston St., New York, laboratory.
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

“We build but to tear down. Most of our work and resource is squandered. Our onward march is marked by devastation. Everywhere there is an appalling loss of time, effort and life. A cheerless view, but true.”

—From “What Science May Achieve this Year,” 1910

10. ON CLEANLINESS

“Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty, and mystery beyond human conception, and so delicate that a word, a breath, a look, nay, a thought may injure it. Uncleanliness, which breeds disease and death, is not only a self-destructive but highly immoral habit.”

—From “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy," 1900

11. ON THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE

"It will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages around the world so simply that any individual can carry and operate his own apparatus."

From Popular Mechanics via the New York Times, October 1909

12. ON OTHERS TAKING CREDIT FOR HIS INVENTIONS

"Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine."

—As quoted in Tesla: Man Out of Time, by Margaret Cheney, 2001

13. ON THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE

“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.”

—From “A Machine to End War,” 1935 [PDF]

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