brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Bob LeChevalier lojbab at
Tue Jul 16 16:06:35 EST 2002

"John Knight" <johnknight at> wrote:
>They also don't "invent" things, which is precisely why it's STUPID to claim
>that a government bureaucrat like Hopper "intented Cobol" or "invented
>What the feminazis are studiously ignoring by raising Hopper's name is that
>it was MEN programmers at IBM other commercial companies who *invented*
>everything involved in Cobol,

That is simply false.  If you think it is true, then prove it.  See my
references below.

>But that didn't even make Cobol the industry standard, because
>*COMMERCIALLY* developed languages like Fortran and Algol became the

COBOL was and remains the industry standard in business programming, which is
the largest percentage of software in the country.  Algol never was much used
in the US.  

>It's really silly to claim that a public servant like Hopper "invented"

Only for an ignoramus like you.

>> >And lastly, it's absurd to claim that any civil servant, even if they did
>> >get a patent for something, invented anything.  The vast majority of R&D,
>> >development, inventions, and patent applications are filed by industry, not
>> >government.
>> The is because government developments are not protected by patents but are
>> in the public domain (when they aren't classified).  The benefits of space
>> program research made it into everyday life unusually quickly because most of
>> it wasn't classified or protected by patents.
>How is it even possible that you're always consistently one bit to the left
>on every word you ever write, lojbab?

Because I am correct, and you are insane.

>The vast majority of government R&D *is* classified, and remains classified
>until long after it's obsolete.

For DoD research this is largely true.

>The affirmative action hirees with the
>federal government are incapable of, not charged with, and aren't even
>rewarded for, inventing anything.

They aren't especially rewarded for it, but there are indeed government
research labs that do a lot of R&D

>As even you know, they don't get patents,
>bonuses, or even promotions for "inventing" something, so they don't.

They get paid to invent things, and they often get longer development times
than industry, which is concerned with getting a marketable product soonest.
In some fields they get access to information that people in industry do not
get, BECAUSE their work is not proprietary.  Government scientists get to see
the work done by industry for government, even when it is not otherwise

For some people this is a preferable environment, even if it doesn't make
them lots of money.  In some fields like space research, it is the best

Furthermore, as Hopper's life shows (see below), they DO get awards and
promotions based on their results.

>There ARE tremendous classified technologies which have been developed by
>PRIVATE industry under government contracts which will remain classified for
>a long time, and which not even those companies can profit from in the
>private sector.  So, NO, Hopper was not an "inventor" of a blasted thing.
>Bob Bemer, as an employee of IBM, WAS one of the "inventors" of Cobol, but
>the team of engineers behind Cobol's development goes throughout all of IBM.
>All Hopper did was sit their on the tail end of all the REAL inventions and
>look pretty [or in her case, real ugly].
each give a detailed history of Hopper's life and contributions to the
industry.  They back up with details what is meant when we say that she
invented the compiler (1949) and COBOL (1959).

>> >Of the 32,300 compiler patents referenced on the net, only 150 refer to
>> >Grace Murray Hopper, and none of those sites provide a compiler patent
>> >number for Hopper.
>> Because she didn't patent it.  She invented COBOL and large chunks of
>> industry got to use it right away without paying royalties to her or the
>> government.  She got other rewards besides money.
>Cobol is a kunky language, which is why industry used Fortran and Algol,
>rather than Cobol.  But it's not so klunky that it would appear that a woman
>provided even one punch card worth of input to its development.

COBOL is still in use in more sites than the other two languages, klunky or

>> >This is almost as bad as dredging up the century old quarter of a patent
>> >Marie Curie got.
>> No one has mentioned any patents that Curie got.  I'm not sure that she tried
>> to get any.
>That's because she was a dumb broad.  It was Pierre, and his father, and
>Becquerel, who got all the patents.

Provide references to show that either of them got ANY patents.

>Why?  Marie got the quarter of a Nobel
>Prize ONLY because Pierre thought it was "more satisfying from the artistic
>point of view".

Wrong, she got 1 additional Nobel prize (in Chemistry for her work with
radium), one of only a couple of people in history to win the Nobel twice.

In addition, per the Nobel reference below, Pierre wrote that in response to
someone who was concerned that Marie had not been nominated.  It seems clear
from their description that your hypothesis about why she got the award is
not supported.

>Now that the archives have been made available to the public, it is possible to study in detail the events surrounding the awarding of the two Prizes, in 1903 and 1911. In a letter in 1903, several members of the l'Académie des Sciences, including Henri Poincaré and Gaston Darboux, had nominated Becquerel and Pierre Curie for the Prize in Physics. Marie's name was not mentioned. This caused Gösta Mittag-Leffler, a professor of mathematics at Stockholm University College, to write to Pierre Curie. That letter has never survived but Pierre Curie's answer, dated August 6, 1903, has been preserved. He wrote, 'If it is true that one is seriously thinking about me (for the Prize), I very much wish to be considered together with Madame Curie with respect to our research on radioactive bodies.' Drawing attention to the role she played in the discovery of radium and polonium, he added, 'Do you not think that it would be more satisfying from the artistic point of view, if we were to b
associated in this manner?' (plus joli d'un point de vue artistique). 
>Some biographers have questioned whether Marie deserved the Prize for Chemistry in 1911. They have claimed that the discoveries of radium and polonium were part of the reason for the Prize in 1903, even though this was not stated explicitly. Marie was said to have been awarded the Prize again for the same discovery, the award possibly being an expression of sympathy for reasons that will be mentioned below. Actually, however, the citation for the Prize in 1903 was worded deliberately with a view to a future Prize in Chemistry. Chemists considered that the discovery and isolation of radium was the greatest event in chemistry since the discovery of oxygen. That for the first time in history it could be shown that an element could be transmuted into another element, revolutionized chemistry and signified a new epoch

The above comes from an excellent summary of Curie's life, put out by the
Nobel Foundation at

Some other quotes showing Marie Curie's especial contributions:
>Marie drew the conclusion that the ability to radiate did not depend on the arrangement of the atoms in a molecule, it must be linked to the interior of the atom itself. This discovery was absolutely revolutionary. From a conceptual point of view it is her most important contribution to the development of physics. She now went through the whole periodic system. Her findings were that only uranium and thorium gave off this radiation. 

>After thousands of crystallizations, Marie finally - from several tons of the original material - isolated one decigram of almost pure radium chloride and had determined radium's atomic weight as 225. She presented the findings of this work in her doctoral thesis on June 25, 1903. Of the three members of the examination committee, two were to receive the Nobel Prize a few years later: Lippmann, her former teacher, in 1908 for physics, and Moissan, in 1906 for chemistry. The committee expressed the opinion that the findings represented the greatest scientific contribution ever made in a doctoral thesis. 

>In 1903, Marie and Pierre Curie were awarded half the Nobel Prize in Physics. The citation was, 'in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel'. Henri Becquerel was awarded the other half for his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity.

>In 1908 Marie, as the first woman ever, was appointed to become a professor at the Sorbonne. 

>In 1911 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The citation by the Nobel Committee was, 'in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.'

The report also describes how she had to deal with anti-Semitism (even though
she wasn't Jewish), sexism, and xenophobia as a Polish-born scientist in

Frankly, I'll believe the Nobel Foundations's estimation of Curie over yours,


More information about the Neur-sci mailing list