Celebrating Ada and Women in STEM

Celebrating Ada and Women in STEM

Tuesday 10th October was Ada Lovelace Day – an international celebration of all the inspiring women in STEM. This week we are looking at Ada’s wonderful achievements as well as recognising a handful of women who are making huge contributions to the field!

Lets start with Ada Lovelace herself. Born, in 1815, she was the daughter of the poet of Lord Byron and his mathematical loving wife. Her mother raised her under an educational regimen of logic, science and mathematics to make sure she didn’t succumb to her Father’s ‘poetic’ temperament. In 1833, her mentor, the scientist, Mary Sommerville, introduced her to Charles Babbage. Together they created a device called the Analytical Engine ; an early predecessor of the modern computer. Lovelace’s notes inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.

Today, over 80 years since the death of Ada, men still outnumber women in STEM – only 11.8% of professional engineers in the UK are women. However, women are still making valuable contributions to science and engineering. For example, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a specialist in cognitive neuroscience at UCL,  recently won the Royal Society’s Science Book prize for her work Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of Teenage Brain. 

Dr Jess Wade is another inspiring female figure in STEM.  She is working with carbon – based materials for light emitting diodes. Dr Wade said, ‘Think of the pixels in your TV screen or your mobile phone. We are looking at light, low-cost, high-efficiency and flexible displays’.  Her hope for the future is, ‘That we won’t have to be excited about one woman getting a nobel prize in physics and that it instead becomes a yearly occurrence’.

Why not make your next steps STEM? You could also make astounding contributions like Ada Lovelace, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Jess Wade!!

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