Main content

Dr Sue Black

Kirsty Young talks to computer scientist and social entrepreneur Dr Sue Black.

Dr. Sue Black is a computer scientist, academic and social entrepreneur. She was instrumental in saving Bletchley Park, the home of vital codebreaking during the second world war. Currently an honorary professor at UCL, she founded BCS Women for women in science and the social enterprise Tech Mums, which teaches parents about computing. She is also on an advisory board for the government's digital services.

Born in Fareham, Hampshire, she was 12 when her mother died of a brain haemorrhage. She left school and home at the earliest legal age, 16, and by the age of 20 she was the mother of three children. She returned to education by taking a maths access course at night school which led to a degree in computing from London South Bank University in 1993. She gained a PhD in software engineering in 2001 and became a lecturer. She was Head of Department of Computing Science at the University of Westminster before leaving in 2012 to become a technology evangelist.

In 2016 She was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to for services to technology.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Fri 25 May 2018 09:00

Music Played

  • Maria Callas

    Casta Diva

    • Bellini Norma.
    • Warner Classics.
    • 9.
  • Nicki Minaj

    Feeling Myself (clean)

    • N/A (clean track not released on album).
    • Cash Money Records.
  • Scott McKenzie

    San Francisco

    • San Francisco: The Very Best Of Scott McKenzie.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 1.
  • Buzzcocks

    Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)

    • Love Bites.
    • EMI Records Limited.
    • 2.
  • N.W.A

    Straight Outta Compton

    • NOW That's What I Call Old Skool.
    • Now! Music.
    • 7.
  • Nirvana

    Smells Like Teen Spirit

    • Nevermind.
    • Polydor Limited.
    • 1.
  • Coldplay


    • Parachutes.
    • EMI Records Limited.
    • 5.

    • The Weeknd

      The Hills (clean)

      • N/A (clean track not released on album).
      • XO / Republic.

    An A Level Maths book (and pencil)


    Red hair dye


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Sue Black
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 20 May 2018 11:15
  • Fri 25 May 2018 09:00

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?