Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is considered to have written instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.
Held on the second Tuesday of October each year, it aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.
This month, two women - Donna Strickland and Frances H. Arnold - won the Nobel Prize in the fields of Physics and Chemistry respectively. Donna Strickland won the third Nobel in Physics awarded to a woman after 55 years since the last female laureate in this category. Frances H. Arnold received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her achievements in the directed evolution of enzymes. For young girls who aspire to a career in STEM this is a huge deal. Not only do they have visibility of women in STEM, but they also see successful scientists recognized by the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and awarded one of science’s most important accolades.
Founded in 2009, Ada Lovelace Day features a flagship Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘science cabaret’ event in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or about other women who have inspired them, or perform short comedy or musical interludes with a STEM focus.
This year they have an outstanding line-up of speakers, including epidemiologist Prof Sunetra Gupta, computer scientist Chanuki Seresinhe, palaeontologist Dr Susie Maidment, engineer Dr Hilary Costello, mathematician Prof Emma McCoy, marine scientist Dr Diva Amon, and science demo builder Natasha Simons.
The day also includes grassroots events around the world, from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students, to women with well-established careers.
To find our more about Ada Lovelace Day visit https://findingada.co
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Who is Ada Lovelace?
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace collaborated with inventor Charles Babbage on his general purpose computing machine, the Analytical Engine. In 1843, Lovelace published what we would now call a computer program to generate Bernoulli Numbers. Whilst Babbage had written fragments of programs before, Lovelace's was the most complete, most elaborate and the first published.