Ep 9: Prof Elaine Chew & Dr Helen Scales

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Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

00:44: Professor Elaine Chew on using computers to mathematically model music.

27:19: Discovery of the Month – Kevlar

32:06: Dr Helen Scales talks about The Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark.

Our interviewees

Professor Elaine Chew

Prof Elaine ChewElaine Chew is Professor of Digital Media at Queen Mary University of London where she is affiliated with the Centre for Digital Music. A classically trained pianist and operations researcher, her research centers on the mathematical and computational modeling, and scientific visualisation, of structures created in music performance, composition, and listening. She was a 2005 (US) National Science Foundation-nominated honoree of the Presidential Early Career Award For Scientists And Engineers and 2007-2008 recipient of the Edward, Frances, and Shirley B. Daniels Fellowship at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has the unique honour of having appeared twice in Ignobel presentations: as pianist in the Duct Tape Opera and as scientist-musician in a technical analysis of PDQ Bach.

Music visualisationElaine’s 2014 book, Mathematical and Computational Modeling of Tonality: Theory and Applications, is available from Springer, and the software that she uses, MuSA_RT, is available free from the Mac App Store. You can also read more about Elaine’s work on her research blog, her music blog and her research team blog.

Plus we have links to a couple of her papers, Playing with the edge: Tipping points and the role of tonality and Mathemusical Conversations: Mathematics and Computation in Music Performance and Composition. And you can watch Elaine’s talk from Ada Lovelace Day Live! 2015 at the bottom of this page.

Dr Helen Scales

Helen Scales

Dr Helen Scales is a writer, diver and documentary-maker. She started out as a conservationist, studying endangered fishes and finding ways to protect ocean life. She now searches for stories that connect people and nature, while still spending as much time in the sea as possible. Among her BBC Radio documentaries she’s searched for the perfect wave and explored the enduring dream of living underwater. She also writes regularly for outlets including BBC Focus Magazine, Hakai and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Helen Scales ane Eugenie ClarkHer latest book Spirals in Time was picked as a book of the year by The Economist, Guardian, Nature and The Times, shortlisted for the Royal Society of Biology book award and picked as a book of the week by BBC Radio 4.

Helen spoke about her ichthyological hero, Eugenie Clark, at Ada Lovelace Day Live 2012 and wrote about the time she met her in A Passion for Science. She’s writing more about Genie in her upcoming book Eye of the Shoal, due out in May 2018.

You can find out more about Helen on her website, or can follow her on Twitter, @helenscales.

Stephanie KwolekDiscovery of the Month

This month, we talked about Kevlar, a superstrong polymer discovered by Stephanie Kwolek in 1964. You can read more about Kwolek’s life and work in our book, A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention, in a chapter written by Dr Suze Kundu.

Competition

This month, we’re giving away a signed copy of Helen Scales’ book, Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells. To enter, Tweet your favourite podcast episode before the end of February and mention @findingada to make sure we see it. We’ll contact the winner via Twitter. (Note that earlier tweets said that the deadlines is 8 Feb, but we’ve extended it!)

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.

Get in touch!

If you’d like to send us feedback about the show, or if you’d like to take part, please email us. We’re especially interested in hear from men who would like to talk to us about the women in STEM who have influenced them, especially those women who are less well known.

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Videos

Ep 8: Dr Rae Robertson-Anderson & Dr Thorunn Helgason

iTunes | Google Play | RSS (Soundcloud) | Stitcher

Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

01:10: Dr Rae Robertson-Anderson talks about biological soft matter and biomaterials.

23:12: Ecologist Dr Thorunn Helgason talks about Barbara Mosse and how women’s contributions to STEM are overlooked.

Our interviewees

Dr Rae Robertson-Anderson

Dr Rae Robertson-AndersonDr Rae Robertson-Anderson is Associate Professor, Chair of Physics and Biophysics, and program director for the undergraduate biophysics program at University of San Diego. She has been a member of the faculty since 2009. Rae received her BS in Physics from Georgetown University in 2003, and her PhD in Physics from UCSD in 2007. She completed her postdoctoral research training in the Molecular Biology department at The Scripps Research Institute. Her PhD and postdoctoral research were funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and NIH postdoctoral training fellowship.

Since her initial appointment at USD, Rae has received several prestigious research and education grants including an NSF CAREER Award and Air Force Young Investigator Award for her soft matter biophysical research and development of the undergraduate Biophysics program at USD. She has also been named a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar and Scialog Fellow, and serves on the advisory panel for the Murdock Charitable Trust science programs and the American Physical Society soft matter topical group.

You can find out more about Rae and her team’s work on the University of San Diego’s website.

Dr Thorunn Helgason

Dr Thorunn HelgasonDr Thorunn Helgason is a senior lecturer in ecology at the University of York, UK. She has worked for many years in research focussed on understanding how microbes build healthy soils, and how we can use this knowledge in crop production and habitat conservation. As a higher education professional, she has worked towards widening participation in STEM subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and in public engagement, bringing science into the wider community.

You can follow Thorunn on Twitter, @luehea or read more about her work on the University of York website.

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.

Get in touch!

If you’d like to send us feedback about the show, or if you’d like to take part, please email us. We’re especially interested in hear from men who would like to talk to us about the women in STEM who have influenced them, especially those women who are less well known.

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Ep 7: Dr Julia Shaw & Dr Brenna Hassett

iTunes | Google Play | RSS (Soundcloud) | Stitcher

Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

01:23 Psychological scientist Dr Julia Shaw explains why we shouldn’t trust our own memories, and how knowing that can help us develop a better relationship with our past.

28:16 Bio-archeologist Dr Brenna Hassett explores the lives and works of three pioneering archaeologists who have been instrumental in developing our understanding of prehistoric Turkey, Halet Çambel, Ufuk Esin, and Mihriban Özbaşaran.

Our interviewees

Dr Julia Shaw

Dr Julia ShawDr Julia Shaw is a memory scientist in the Department of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. She is the author of the popular science book The Memory Illusion, which was published in June 2016, in the UK and will soon appear in 13 languages. She is a regular contributor to Scientific American, and her work has been featured in outlets such as the Discovery Channel, BBC, Der Spiegel, Russia Today and The Times.

Besides her teaching and research, she has delivered general business and police training workshops, has given guest lectures at universities around the world, has evaluated offender diversion programs, and works with the UK police to advise on historical sexual and physical abuse cases.

Julia has also written about women in STEM for the Scientific American, in Swapping Princesses and Ponies for Science. You can follow Julia on Twitter at @DrJuliaShaw, and watch her video on memory below or on YouTube. Photo: Boris Breuer

Dr Brenna Hassett

Dr Brenna HassettDr Brenna Hassett is a bioarchaeologist specialising in the archaeology of teeth. Her research examines evidence from growth disruptions locked inside dental enamel to understand patterns of human health in the past, and she has worked in a variety of countries including Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Thailand.

She is a founding member of the TrowelBlazers collective, which seeks to reset imaginations by bringing the contributions of women to the Earth Sciences to light. Their new Raising Horizons project will promote the work of women in the trowel-based sciences via a photographic and oral history archive (video below).

Her new book Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death is out from Bloomsbury Sigma in the UK in February 2017, and in North American April 2017. You can follow Brenna on Twitter at @brennawalks.

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.

Get in touch!

If you’d like to send us feedback about the show, or if you’d like to take part, please email us. We’re especially interested in hear from men who would like to talk to us about the women in STEM who have influenced them, especially those women who are less well known.

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Videos

Ep 6: Prof Haley Gomez & Dr Karen Masters

iTunes | Google Play | RSS (Soundcloud) | Stitcher

Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

01:33: Astrophysicist Professor Haley Gomez talks about how cosmic dust is formed, how it affects our view of the universe, and it’s role in the formation of planets.

26:53: Astronomer Dr Karen Masters talks about Mary Somerville, mathematician, astronomer and translator of Pierre-Simon Laplace’s book about the Solar System, Mécanique Céleste.

Our interviewees

Professor Haley Gomez

Professor Haley GomezProfessor Haley Gomez is an astrophysicist working at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. She uses the most sensitive infrared cameras in space, such as the Herschel Space Observatory and the James Web Space Telescope, to reveal the origins of the building blocks of life: cosmic dust grains. She has published over 100 papers, and her research has been recognised with an award from the Royal Astronomical Society for noteworthy contribution for an early career researcher. In 2015, she was also awarded a prestigious and highly competitive grant worth €1.8 million to measure the dust content of galaxies since the Big Bang.

Throughout her career, she has also taken a leading role in bringing research to the public and, in particular, encouraging girls and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. She received an Inspire Wales Award in 2014 for most inspirational person in the Science and Technology Category for this work.

You can find out more about Haley on her website, watch her TED talk at the bottom of this page, and can follow her on Twitter: @astrofairy.

Haley’s work has featured in a number of articles:

Dr Karen Masters

Dr Karen MastersDr Karen Masters is an astronomer working at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth in the UK. She is the spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV) and the project scientist for the Galaxy Zoo Citizen Science Project. As well as working on her research into galaxy evolution, she has a passion for science (especially astronomy) outreach and public engagement, and for the promotion of equality and diversity in STEM. Karen contributes to the Galaxy Zoo blog and the SDSS science blog.

You can find out more about Karen on her blog, The Beautiful Stars, and can follow her on Twitter, @KarenLMasters. And you can also read an excerpt from her More Passion for Science chapter about Mary Somerville, and read the Royal Astronomical Society’s blog post on Somverville.

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.

Get in touch!

If you’d like to send us feedback about the show, or if you’d like to take part, please email us. We’re especially interested in hear from men who would like to talk to us about the women in STEM who have influenced them, especially those women who are less well known.

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Videos

Ep 5: Roma Agrawal & Dr Peter Etchells

iTunes | Google Play | RSS (Soundcloud) | Stitcher

Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

01:23: Structural engineer Roma Agrawal tells us about her work on the iconic Shard skyscraper in London, and the challenges of retrofitting Victorian buildings.

26:15: Biological psychologist Dr Pete Etchells talks about the work of Dr Suzanne Gage, who investigates the relationships between recreational drug use and mental health.

Ada Lovelace Day Live!

ALD Live is an entertaining evening of geekery, comedy and music suitable for everyone over the age of 12. If you’d like to enjoy a taster, take a look at our videos from 20152014 and 2013!

Our amazing ALD Live! speakers this year are:

  • Yewande Akinola, design engineer focused on sustainable water supply systems and the engineering design coordination of large projects in the built environment.
  • Dr Sheila Kanani, planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher and space comedienne with a background in astrophysics and astronomy.
  • Dr Kat Arney, science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured in the New Scientist, Wired, the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement, BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more.
  • Jenny Duckett, developer with the Government Digital Service.
  • Dr Sara Santos, mathematician, director and founder of Maths Busking.
  • Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, computational biologist working on drug discovery for Cancer Research UK.
  • Dr Anna Jones, deputy science leader for the British Antarctic Survey’s Atmosphere, Ice and Climate Team.
  • Helen Keen, comedian and our fabulous compère.

Tickets are available now for £20/£5, so get yours now before they run out! Find out more about our speakers, venue, tickets and schedule.

Our interviewees

Roma Agrawal

Roma Agrawal

Roma Agrawal is a structural engineer was part of the team that built The Shard. She was awarded ‘Young Structural Engineer of the Year’ in 2011 by the Institution of Structural Engineers and was a finalist in the IET’s Young Woman Engineer award 2012. Roma works to raise awareness of engineering, correct the preconceptions about the field and inspire young people about STEM and engineering.

Read an excerpt from Roma’s More Passion for Science chapter on Brooklyn Bridge engineer Emily Warren Roebling, and watch Roma’s 2014 ALD Live! talk on bridges on YouTube or at the bottom of this post. And you can follow Roma on Twitter: @romatheengineer.

Dr Pete Etchells

Pete EtchellsDr Pete Etchells is a senior lecturer in biological psychology at Bath Spa University, and the science blog network coordinator for the Guardian, where he also writes for the psychology blog Head Quarters. He researches the effects of playing video games on mental health and behaviour, and more generally the effects of technology use on the brain and behaviour. You can follow Pete on Twitter: @peteetchells.

Pete’s subject this month was Dr Suzanne Gage, an epidemiologist who use the Children of the 90s dataset to investigate relationships between recreational drug use and mental health. She has a blog called Sifting the Evidence, which won the 2012 Science Blog prize.

Read an except of Suzi’s Passion for Science chapter on Jean Golding OBE, or follow Suzi on Twitter: @soozaphone.

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.

Get in touch!

If you’d like to send us feedback about the show, or if you’d like to take part, please email us. We’re especially interested in hear from men who would like to talk to us about the women in STEM who have influenced them, especially those women who are less well known.

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Videos