Ruth M. Davis

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Ruth M. Davis is President and CEO of the Pymatuning Group, a Virginia firm specializing in industrial modernization and technology development, which she founded in 1980. One of the first women to graduate from the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in mathematics, she helped design some of the earliest computers and satellites. She went on to hold many scientific positions in the federal government, rising to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Advanced Technology and later, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Resource Applications. She also served as Director of the Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, as the first Director of the National Center for Biomedical Communications at the National Institute of Health, and as Staff Assistant for Intelligence and Reconnaissance in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She has been involved in programs at the University of Maryland, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Berkeley, and was inducted into the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 2000. She has been elected a member of the National Academy of Public Administration, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About the Transcript

Ruth Davis’ interview describes her work with the Secretary of Defense, the National Library of Medicine, and as Director of the National Center for Biomedical Communications, as well as the Department of Economic Security. As Deputy Director of the National Library of Medicine, she was involved in the development of early computers, and was responsible for the development of computers and communications in the medical world as was mandated to the National Library of Medicine by Congress. She describes her childhood in northwestern Pennsylvania and Maryland, and goes on to elaborate about her education in grade school and as an undergraduate and graduate student. The interview also focuses on Homeland Security and the events of 9/11, as well as her work with data encryption, with agencies such as the CIA, and with her work on several boards after leaving the government. She goes on to discuss Barbara Franklin’s work in President Nixon’s White House and the Executive Women in Government board. Lastly, she talks about her work at Pymatuning and her thoughts on women in the workforce in the late 1960s and early 1970s.