April 25, 2016Edith Clarke (February 10, 1883 – October 29, 1959) was the first female electrical engineer and the first female professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She specialized in electrical power system analysis] and wrote Circuit Analysis of A-C Power Systems.
After being orphaned at age 12, she was raised by her older sister. She used her inheritance to study mathematics and astronomy at Vassar College, where she graduated in 1908.
After college, Clarke taught mathematics and physics at a private school in San Francisco and at Marshall College. She then spent some time studying civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but left to become a “computer“ at AT&T in 1912. She computed for George Campbell, who applied mathematical methods to the problems of long-distance electrical transmissions. While at AT&T, she studied electrical engineering at Columbia University by night.
In 1918, Clarke enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the following year she became the first woman to earn an M.S. in electrical engineering from MIT.
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