Ada Lovelace is widely held to have been the first computer programmer. Close friends with inventor Charles Babbage, Lovelace was intrigued by his Analytical Engine and in 1842, she translated a description of it by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea. Babbage asked her to expand the article, “as she understood [it] so well”, and
this was when she wrote several early ‘computer programs’. Ada Lovelace died of cancer at 36, her potential tragically unfulfilled.
Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.
Unfortunately women only hold about 24% of STEM jobs, however women in STEM jobs earn 33% more than those in non-STEM occupations, and the
wage gap between men and women in STEM jobs is smaller than in other fields! (source: http://scienceprogress.org/2011/08/women-missing-out-on-high-paying-stem-jobs/)
I encourage you to mention Ms. Lovelace as well as talk about other pioneers in the STEM world …. some thoughts:
- Madame Curie, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity
- Rosalind Elsie Franklin, the TRUE discoverer of the Double Helix Structure of DNA ( and you thought it was Crick and Watson 😉 )
- Sally Ride, first US Woman in space
- Limor Fried, (aka ladyada) an electrical engineer and owner of the electronics hobbyist company, Adafruit Industries. Also the first woman engineer to appear on the cover of WIRED MAGAZINE.
Here is a link the the Finding Ada website: http://findingada.com/
Please forward this post to any Math and Science teachers you know …..
P.S: in a slightly self serving sense 🙂 …. ADAFRUIT is having a sale to honor Ms. Lovelave …. use the code ADA11 for 10% off EVERYTHING!