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Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII


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Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII + Women and Science: Social Impact and Interaction (Science and Society Series)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by LeAnn Erickson
  • Directors: LeAnn Erickson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMKC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,287 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In 1942 soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a secret military program was launched to recruit female mathematicians who would become human computers for the US military. Top Secret Rosies : The Female Computers of WWII shares a story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
What a great video to show the role of women in mathematics in history.
Melissa M. Luedtke
Needless to say, my smiling Mac didn't look anything like what she thought a computer ought to look like.
Baroque musician
I saw a pre-screening of this movie before it came out, and really enjoyed it.
Linda Straub

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ellee Koss on March 15, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this video for my Mom who is one of the early pioneers as well. Imagine our surprise to find her photo on the cover... The video does a great job depicting what the early days of computing were like and the role that women played. Thanks for doing this LeAnn!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Baroque musician on November 28, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm grateful to LeAnn for having made this film. I wish they had done it decades ago, of course, when memories were better. My mom was one of the "computers" at Penn. She worked with the ENIAC computations and went to the Aberdeen Proving Ground. I've heard this all my life. Until maybe 15 years ago my mother could have recounted this blow by blow (down to Eckert and Mauchly or one of them--I don't' remember--spying on their lunches because he thought dessert made them do math slower (my mom loves dessert), and having them work through Thanksgiving with no heat. My mom was VERY good at math, and started Penn at 16. She graduated in 3 years with a degree in economics. She is 88. And she has always been VERY proud of having worked for the ENIAC project (it was the only job she ever had). Her father picked her up every night and she couldn't tell him what they were doing. She watched the film, but she was very tired and slept through part of it. Every once in a while she'd wake up, say "it's Press Eckert" or "it's the ENIAC" and was out again. When I got my first computer (a MacPLus) mom wouldn't touch it, because she said she "hates computers". When I asked why she said "I hate the ENIAC." But that turned out to do more with things like lunch and the heat, not the actual computer. Needless to say, my smiling Mac didn't look anything like what she thought a computer ought to look like. I think it would be good to compile a list of as many of the "computers" (the actual women) as possible. So here it is, Shirley Spiers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melissa M. Luedtke on July 17, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a great video to show the role of women in mathematics in history. At a time when many girls still don't see themselves as math people, everything we can do to build their math confidence counts!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Gaylord on February 5, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The true story of the female mathematicians who were critical to the war effort during World War II. Their skill saved countless Allied lives. And yet they were snubbed when the reporters came around after the war was over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. K. Juelch on February 15, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was working on a presentation for a computer club to honor women on Valentines Day. I was pretty much finished when I bought this DVD. It affirmed what I had done. It tells a story about the accomplishments of "women as computers" in WWII and after. They did not receive recognition for computing trajectory tables for the artillery of for the Norden bombsight. They received literally no recognition for programming ENIAC - the first computer. The presentation went over well. I credited the filmmaker and the author of the article that inspired me. I also stated the cost of the DVD was one of the best purchases I had ever made. Great true story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scadhog on July 17, 2011
Format: DVD
Fascinating documentary about female mathematicians during World War II who worked as human "computers" to calculate ballistic trajectories, and later became the first electronic computer programmers. As someone with degrees in mathematics, who was a computer programmer for many years, and who worked at NASA at a time when there were still some of these human computers around, I found this an enjoyable and informative look at a little known chapter in the development of the modern digital computer.
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Everyone should know about the importance of these gals' roles during the war. They were geniuses with those archaic computers and made the difference in the bombers' accuracy.
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Children of the Secret Rosies
I just stumbled on this subject today. I had no idea women were doing things like this during WWII. Here it is 2013 and I just now hear about it by stumbling on it while searching for something else. What a shame. Not only does this need to be made more public, but women's accomplishments... Read More
Sep 28, 2013 by Michelle |  See all 2 posts
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