Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grace Hopper

Dear readers

In a series of previous posts, my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, shared some of his own thoughts from 40 years of UFO research, as to how best to maintain an active interest in UFO research. After reading a recent book from my bedside pile, I'd like to offer some suggestions myself.

Grace Hopper:

The book is titled "Grace Hopper and the invention of the information age" by Kurt W Beyer. Published by The MIT Press, Cambridge. 2009. ISBN 978-0-262-0130-9.

Who was Grace Hopper? Grace Murray Hopper played a pivotal role in creating the foundation for the computer industry. She is said to be "The Grandmother of COBOL" and was a mathematician par excellence. She joined the US Navy and rose to the rank of Admiral. Her contributions to the early information age are numerous.

Pointers from Hopper:

1. Empower youth:

"Hopper had the habit of assigning the most difficult technical problems to the youngest and least experienced members of a team." (p314.)

Why did she do this? She found it worked! " Hopper glibbly explained, young people did not know that they were expected to fail." (p315.) Beyond that she reasoned that senior people's "Education, traditions and community culture create a stable mental framework that helps to explain reality yet also hinders one's ability to see alternative approaches..." (p315.)


I appreciate people who will involve younger people in attempting to solve problems. In addition, how many senior UFOlogists do you know who are locked into a single chain of recurring thoughts on the UFO phenomenon?

2. Learn from the margins:

"Since youth is fleeting, Hopper discovered that one could maintain a 'youthful' creative outlook by constantly broadening one's own knowledge base." She read up "..on subjects as diverse as astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, zoology, economics, philosophy and the history of scientific thought." (p315.)


Besides reading on UFOs and my own professional areas, I also digest science magazines coming the whole spectrum of scientific topics. I find this often leads me to insights into some aspects of the UFO subject.

3. Proactive invention: inventor as salesman:

Hopper played two roles "...during the development of what she referred to as automatic programming." (p318.) She invented something and then marketed it.


I recall reading somewhere that the inventor, Nicola Tesla was a genius at inventing something but very bad at marketing his inventions. When I come up with what I think is an original thought about some aspect of the UFO phenomenon I blog, so I guess this is my marketing.

Have readers any ideas of their own to share?

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