Throughout her career in mathematics, computer technology, and the navy—all fields dominated by men—Hopper continually had to prove herself. She observed, “If you do something once, people will call it an accident. If you do it twice, they call it a coincidence. But do it a third time and you’ve just proven a natural law!” Trying to fight what she called human beings’ allergy to change, she kept a clock on her wall that ran counterclockwise. Hopper retired to Arlington County, Virginia, in 1986 and became a consultant for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). She died in 1992 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A guided missile destroyer, commissioned in 1997, bears her name.
Reprinted with permission of the Library of Virginia.