Person: Rhodes, Ida
Ida Rhodes was born in the Ukraine but emigrated to the United States as a teenager. She studied mathematics and had a variety of jobs before joining the Mathematical Tables Project in New York City. She did important work on the development of computers.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Variations in the spelling of her name are common, as with all transliterations, and one version that Ida gives herself is Idasie Itzkowicz.
- Ida may have had some happy times but Ukraine was not a good place for those with a Jewish background, for gangs of men would patrol the streets looking for Jews to beat up.
- In 1913 her parents emigrated to the United States and, on entering that country, she adopted the name Ida Itzkowitz.
- We note at this point that many details about Ida given in all the biographies we have seen are wrong.
- Once in the United States, Rhodes attended school and, in 1919, she was awarded the New York State Cash Scholarship and a Cornell University Scholarship to allow her to study mathematics at Cornell University.
- However, in addition to her undergraduate studies at Cornell, Rhodes also worked as a junior nurse in Ithaca City Hospital.
- Solomon Alhadef was born on 15 April 1895 on the Island of Rhodes, at that time part of Turkey.
- By the time he left Rhodes the Island had become part of Italy.
- Following her marriage, she took the name Ida Rhodes.
- Ida graduated from Cornell with a B.A. with honours in mathematics in February 1923 and by autumn of that year, she was awarded a Master's Degree.
- On 17 June 1924 Ida and Solomon were living at 1631 Washington Avenue, Bronx, New York when each of them made a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States.
- From autumn 1923 until 1940 Rhodes worked at a number of different jobs, only one of which required her training as a mathematician.
- Unemployment reached 20% in the United States at around the time Rhodes completed her year of graduate study of mathematics at Columbia.
- On 30 March 1932 Rhodes completed a Petition for Citizenship.
- In the 1940 Census, Rhodes was still living with her parents at 101 Brightwater Court, Brooklyn.
- A number of mathematicians were employed to lead the project, and Rhodes was one of those employed in 1940.
- Rhodes had worked as a nurse for many years so she was able to use her nursing skills to help the workers.
- This meant that Rhodes could not undertake much of her work of consistency checking and other tasks necessary for the project during the day so she worked during the evenings, often alongside Gertude Blanch.
- However, Logan had received a report from Washington praising Rhodes' first week there so Lowan told her to go back and try again.
- The National Applied Mathematics Laboratories had set up the Machine Development Laboratory and Rhodes spent some time working there, for a short period alongside Grace Hopper.
- This, of course, was Rhodes' native tongue so she was particularly well equipped to make the first important steps in computer language translation of Russian to English.
- Another important aspect of Rhodes' work was giving lectures to private firms and to government agencies on how best to made use of electronic computers in their work.
- There was another area of interest for Rhodes, namely using her nursing experience, and in particular this gave her the desire to help disabled people whom she brought into the area of computing.
- After she retired completely in 1971, Rhodes continued with some of her favourite topics.
Born 15 May 1900, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine. Died 1 February 1986, Rockville, Maryland, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Ukraine, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive