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Klára Dán

Birthplace: Budapest, Magyarország - Hungary
Death: November 10, 1963 (52)
San Diego, San Diego County, California, United States (Drowning, suicide)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Károly Dán and Kamilla Dán
Wife of John von Neumann and Carl Henry Eckart
Ex-wife of Ferenc Engel and Andor Meinhard/Menyhért Rapoch
Sister of Erzsébet 'Böske' Deg

Managed by: Sándor Feldmájer
Last Updated:

About Klára Dán

Klára (Klari) Dán Von Neumann (18 August 1911 – 10 November 1963) was a scientist, and a pioneer computer programmer. She wrote the code used on the MANIAC machine developed by John von Neumann and Julian Bigelow at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. She was also involved in the design of new controls for ENIAC and was one of its primary programmers.[4][6] She taught early weather scientists how to program.[7]

Klára wrote the preface to John von Neumann's posthumously published, influential Silliman Lectures,[8] later edited and published by Yale University Press as "The Computer and the Brain".


Marriage record:

John von Neumann married three time divorcee Klára Dán in 1938. Klara later became one of the world's first computer programmers, writing code to solve mathematical problems on computers.

Klara died in 1963 in a drowning accident.

From the Wikipedia article for Klara Dan von Neumann

Unfortunately, she features significantly mainly as von Neumann's wife, even though she also was "a pioneer computer programmer," as per the Wikipedia article. In fact, of the 35 women whose names are in the book's index, 24 are in the book as wives, including Klara. Klara is the only one who gets a full bio and a fair amount of ink. Much of the ink comes from her unfinished memoirs about her life as von Neumann's wife. She was also one of the primary programmers working on the ENIAC, and Dyson's book names her as one of the first three programmers, along with her husband, programming ENIAC. (p. 104). Her work, however, is described as "help," one of the ways that women's activities are diminished in importance (men "do", women "help"): "'With the help of Klari von Neumann,' says Metropolis, 'plans were revised and completed and we undertook to implement them on the ENIAC...'" p. 194 Yet she obviously provided more than "help." In fact, she invented: "'Your code was described and was impressive,' von Neumann wrote to Klari from Los Alamos, discussing whether a routine she had developed should be coded as software or hardwired into the machine. 'They claim now, however, that making one more, 'fixed,' function table is so little work, that they want to do it. It was decided that they will build one, with the order soldered in." (p. 195)



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Klára Dán's Timeline

August 18, 1911
Budapest, Magyarország - Hungary
November 10, 1963
Age 52
San Diego, San Diego County, California, United States