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Ada Lovelace Day

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Dave Lee | 15:43 UK time, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration of women in technology, inspired by a woman who many believe was the first ever programmer.

The day's been organised by Suw Charman-Anderson.

See all the Ada Lovelace Day posts in this list, or on this neat map.

We've picked out a select few to share with you.

First, John (we don't know his second name!) pays tribute to the late Delia Derbyshire, who worked for the BBC .

On the Radio 4 blog Alexandra Feachem sings the praises of CERN scientist Pippa Wells.

Ex-BBC now-Guardian man Martin Belam writes about Professor Karen Spärk Jones, whom he met in 2004. Martin quotes her, with admiration, as saying:

"I think it's very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men."

Emma Wallace, a management consultant, reflects on the career of Judith Hann, one time presenter of Tomorrow's World:

To have a woman, an educated, clever woman show me that being interested in new technology, gadgets and the design of the future was not only alright it was actually something I could do left an immeasurable impression on me.

Former information architect at the BBC Karen Loasby has dedicated her Ada Day post to her Mum:

Mum has been a huge influence on me. She made a technical career seem perfectly normal, and left me rather oblivious to any prejudice. As a result I am a rather poor feminist. I feel rather more constrained by looking much younger than I am, and by being an introvert. I struggle to think of any situations where I have experienced sexism. At least from the men...

The Guardian's Jemima Kiss expresses her admiration of games designer Jane McGonigal.

BBC Backstage's Ian Forrester's choice is Marie-Louise von Franz

If you're not familiar with the fascinating career of Ada, you can listen to this Radio 4 documentary about her life.

We're big fans of Ada here at the BBC -- so much so we even have a room named after her (right).

According to her Twitter feed, Dr Sue Black from the University of Westminster will be making an appearance at around 8.20pm tonight on the BBC News Channel to discuss the day. You can watch it live here (UK only).

Dave Lee is co-editor, BBC Internet blog, BBC Online, BBC Future Media & Technology.


  • Comment number 1.

    Eagle eyed people might spot that the name on the room sign actually says "Ava Lovelace"

  • Comment number 2.

    The picture is a big old. We couldn't find a better one.

  • Comment number 3.

    off topic I know but there hasn't been an "interesting stuff" post for a day or two, sorry :(

    are you aware the "explore" button on this page is showing its :hover text with a blue background but black text instead of white in firefox?

  • Comment number 4.

    May I cast my vote for Dame Stephanie Shirley, founder of F International.

    As someone who fell over (or rather inside) a computer in 1964 she shone out as a beacon to attract females into the Arran sweater and sandal world of DP (as it then was. (Or even EDP if you needed a TLA.)) in the 60's.

    Note the nested parentheses!

    More power to all their attractive pointy elbows!!

    Englishman 21C

  • Comment number 5.

    Hedy Lamarr was one of the most popular Hollywood actresses of the 1930s and 40s. But she also played a part in making today’s digital mobile phone calls harder to intercept and monitor.

    Away from the MGM studios, Lamarr (a.k.a. Hedwig Keisler Markey) worked in the field of radio physics during the Second World War, and (with her close friend, musician George Antheil) basically invented the “spread spectrum” technique of radio communications — the transmission of a radio signal in a complex pattern, which reduces the chances of a signal being intercepted or the location of its transmitter identified.

    Read more here: https://jacketmagazine.com/01/hedy.html


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