Lewis College of Human Sciences Assistant Professor Marie Hicks Gives Conference Paper On History of Computer Dating


Photo credit: ICT News, 1965

Lewis College of Human Sciences Assistant Professor of History Marie Hicks organized a panel, titled Abacuses, Newspapers, and First Dates: Scientific and Scientistic Applications of Computing in the Twentieth Century, for the annual conference of the History of Science Society held in Atlanta on the social implications of computing. Hicks presented a paper on the early history of computerized dating, “Making Scientific Matches: Computer Dating at the Dawn of the Electronic Age, 1950–1979,” which charted the history of how computer dating systems hid bias behind the idea of “scientific matching” and helped perpetuate both racist and heteronormative ideals that rendered certain types of relationships invisible and illegitimate.

Her co-presenters gave papers on abacus computing and the impact of race and nationality in the U.S. Space Program, and the effects of popular imagery of computing on public ideas about computers’ role in government and society. While at the conference, Hicks also participated in a mentoring program to help younger scholars in the field of history of science and technology.