Entomology, chemical ecology, evidence-based environmentalism and science in general. I like big bugs and I cannot lie.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Ada Lovelace day

Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was the world's first computer programmer. The daughter of the mad, bad and dangerous Lord Byron, her mother attempted to quash any poetic tendencies the young Ada may have had by ensuring that, unusually for a girl, she received a thorough education in mathematics. From the age of 17 she corresponded frequently with the mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage on matters of logic and algebra, and he eventually employed her to translate the works of Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the subject of the Analytical Engine. This she did, adding a volume of notes in which she first recognised the potential of a general purpose computer. Although the Analytical Engine was never built, she wrote a number of programs for it. Not bad for a woman with pretty severe hypothermia by the looks of it.

Women in IT are still frequently overlooked or suffer discrimination, and so in an attempt to draw attention to their contribution the 24th of March has been designated Ada Lovelace day, an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. So far 1,279 people have signed a pledge to publish a blog post on the 24th about a woman in technology they admire.

I have a blog, and am also of the Feminazical persuasion, so the idea obviously appealed to me and I plan to publish a post on the 24th of March. Like many of my less sensible ideas I decided to do this when drunk having misread the description as being about women in science and technology, and have now realised in the cold light of day that it's just about women in technology. This is annoying as I could have written about a woman in science in my sleep but will now have to do *gasp!* some research.

If anyone else with a blog wants to join in, there's a Facebook event too.

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