Ada Lovelace Day 2022

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Ada Lovelace Day Live Online

We had an amazing line-up for the final official Ada Lovelace Day Online event, which you can now watch here:

The talks

The science of the human voice, Prof Sophie Scott

Why do we sound the way we do? How did voices evolve, and how do our brains control them? Prof Sophie Scott will explore the neuroscience of our voices.

Poo and power, Prof Priti Parikh

Prof Priti Parikh researches infrastructure solutions in resource-challenged settings. She will talk about gaps in infrastructure and what that means for marginalised communities, with a dash of comedy on the side.

How health tech is revolutionising patient care, Marcia Rankin-Smith

Data- and AI-driven health tech  can significantly improve how patients engage with their care, empowering them to better understand their condition and how it can be managed. These new health tech solutions are also changing clinical practice for disease diagnosis and management for conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure, and can help reduce pressures on healthcare providers, eg by facilitating early discharge. So what does this health tech work and how does it improve patient outcomes?

Stay curious, Aphra Le Levier-Bennett

After having the privilege of talking at Ada Lovelace Day Live in 2017 when she was 17 years old and studying her A-levels, Aphra is delighted to return to discuss where STEM has led her now after completing her Physics with Philosophy degree. Although she has taken a different route and now works in the creative industries, STEM helped nurture her curiosity and she hopes to share this message with others.

Energy transition: Sink or Swim? Yasmin Ali

Energy runs the world – heating and cooling homes, moving cars, and powering devices. These incredible technologies make life easier and safer, but they come at a price – greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels change the environment and climate. It is not all doom and gloom, awareness of the problem is on the rise and an energy transition is afoot, but will we sink or swim?

Maths is for everyone! Susan Okereke

Every student should leave school competent and confident in everyday maths but sadly, this is not the case for many students. It has become socially acceptable to say ‘I can’t do maths’ and this attitude is having a negative impact on our children, our economy and society as whole. This talk will highlight the crucial role maths teachers and parents play in improving this situation and in making the world a fairer place. Susan will share some ideas on how to support people (children and adults) to enjoy and feel more confident doing maths but the main aim of this talk is to encourage discussion, ideas, sharing and collaboration.

A bit more history of the candle, Fran Scott

In her work as a pyrotechnician, Fran has learnt to somewhat read fire (and it her!). In this talk she’ll delve into her favourite fire-based demonstrations which help reveal some of its glorious secrets. She’ll also draw from Michael Faraday’s lecture series, “The Chemical History of a Candle”, which he presented as part of the Royal Institution’s Christmas lectures for young people.

About our speakers

Prof Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scot is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London, as well as a standup scientist working on the neurobiology of speech perception. She is interested in how our brains process all kinds of information from the voice, including emotion, and in individual differences in speech perception and plasticity in speech perception, as these are important factors for people with cochlear implants.

A pioneer in the study of the human voice as a social signal, Sophie has studied the social uses of non-verbal emotional expressions like laughter everywhere from brain scanners to comedy clubs.

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Prof Priti Parikh

Priti Parikh

Prof Priti Parikh is the founder director of UCL’s Engineering for International Development Centre at the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction. This centre researches locally acceptable water-sanitation-energy solutions in low-middle income countries for human development and wellbeing.

She has over 15 years of engineering industry experience in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK with consultancies on the design of infrastructure for slums in partnership with local communities. She was awarded the prestigious BBOXX/Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research fellowship that focuses on energy access in sub-Sahara Africa through smart solar solutions.

Prof Parikh was named as one of the 100 most influential academics in the UK Government for her work in climate and sustainability in 2021 and one of the top 50 Women in Engineering in 2022. Her work has influenced policy and practice especially the work around evidencing links between infrastructure and Sustainable Development Goals. She is a Council Member and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Board Member for Engineers Against Poverty and Sanitation and Human Rights India and is an Engineers Without Borders changemaker.

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Marcia Rankin-Smith

Marcia Rankin-SmithMarcia is the Lead for Digital Consultancy at LenusHealth. She has 20 years of experience in IT/Digital, enjoying roles in both private and public sector, including media, sport, local and central government and the NHS. Although the roles have evolved along with the technology in use, a common theme among these positions has been ‘transformation’ and how technology could enable it and make experiences better for users. None truer than with her current role as the lead for digital consultancy at a digital health agency, who are helping to shape the evolution of remote patient monitoring through technology.

Previous roles have included  strategy and transformation consultant at dxw, head of innovation at, head of digital transformation at Scottish Government, partnership director at Agilisys Ltd, senior product build specialist as The Press Association, venue technology manager at the Commonwealth Games Manchester 2002.

Marcia holds a BSc Hons in IT and business management from the University of York. She is a mum to two young children, married and lives in York. Away from work she is a keen singer and learning photography.

Aphra Le Levier-Bennett

Aphra Le Levier-Bennett

Aphra works as an Editorial Assistant at a publishing house after graduating from the University of York with a Physics with Philosophy degree. After having spoken at Ada Lovelace Day Live in 2017 while completing her A – Levels, and being an avid member of the audience for years, she hasn’t lost her curiosity for STEM subjects despite going down a different career path.

She believes that the arts, sciences, and humanities have so much to learn from one another, and continues to be guided by her passion for all three. She hopes to inspire others to make the same connections.


Yasmin Ali

Yasmin Ali

Yasmin is a chartered chemical engineer in energy, working as a green hydrogen project developer. In addition to being an engineer, Yasmin is writing Power Up, an accessible book about global energy, due to be published in 2024. As an avid promoter of engineering, Yasmin has given many talks to students, teachers, parents, engineering professionals and members of the public. In recognition of her public engagement work, she has been awarded and shortlisted for multiple industry awards, including the 2020 Women’s Engineering Society’s top 50 female engineers in sustainability.

Twitter | Instagram

Susan Okereke

Susan Okereke

Susan Okereke is a maths teacher and communicator, who passionately believes that numeracy is an essential basic skill (like reading and writing) that everyone should be confident at. She challenges negative views of maths by creating and delivering maths content in a way that is accessible, memorable and confidence building.

While teaching maths in a London secondary school, she also delivers professional development for teachers, co-hosts the Maths Appeal Podcast with Bobby Seagull, and she regularly presents at maths events and projects for students, teachers and the general public.
Susan is on a mission to show that maths is everywhere and for everyone!

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Fran Scott

Fran Scott

Fran Scott is an accomplished engineering presenter, maker and pyrotechnician who specialises in the use of physical demonstrations to explain seemingly complex scientific phenomena. She has been listed in The Progress 1000 London’s most influential people and is the only person to have presented on three different BAFTA-nominated engineering television programmes.

Fran’s love of industrial engineering has taken centre stage with her programmes including Abandoned Engineering (Yesterday Channel/ Discovery), Massive Engineering Mistakes (Discovery) and The Department of Complaints (More4). She has also worked on CBBC’s Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom, Newsround, BBC Bitesize, Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab, Bang Goes the Theory and Horizon, either as a presenter or designing demonstrations. She was also the Engineering judge on Channel 4’s UK Lego Masters. In 2020, her podcast series, The Robot Podcast, looked at the innovative robotic-based solutions used within industry and hit the top 40 charts in 30 countries.

Fran has also worked on stage shows for the Big Bang Engineering Faire, the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures (on which she also led the demonstration team), and toured the UK with Google for Education. She runs her own events production company, Great Scott! Productions, which works with engineering and infrastructure firms to produce high-quality classroom resources and workshops to inspire the next generation of engineers and develop the talents of under-represented presenters.

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Compère: Helen Arney

Helen Arney, photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

Writer, science presenter, geek songstress and ‘Voice of an Angle’ Helen Arney has appeared on TV, radio and in theatres across the world with her unique mix of stand-up, songs and science. You might have seen her explaining physics while riding a rollercoaster for BBC2 Coast, electrifying Sandi Toksvig on QI, singing the periodic table on Channel 4, smashing a wine glass with the power of her voice live on Blue Peter, hosting Outrageous Acts Of Science on Discovery Channel, or touring with science comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

Their fire-filled shows Full Frontal Nerdity, Just For Graphs and You Can’t Polish A Nerd are out now on DVD and download, and the ‘resplendently geeky’ (The Times) trio recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Robin Ince and astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. The second series of their unique and truly ‘experimental’ comedy show Domestic Science was first heard on BBC Radio 4, and is now available as an audiobook along with Series 1. You can also listen to A Podcast Of Unnecessary Detail – based on their monthly sellout live shows – and Helen’s Radio 4 series Did The Victorians Ruin The World?, written with sister Dr Kat Arney. Helen’s voice is also featured in a new collaborative work with artist Yu-Chen Wang and CERN, as the voice of the bubble chamber.

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Ada Lovelace Day Blog Extravaganza

As we did last year, in 2022 we celebrated women in STEM and highlighted books and podcasts by and about women in STEM with an epic content marathon on our blog, which started at midnight on Kiritimati Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and ended a full 50 hours later at midnight on Baker Island and Howland Island, two uninhabited atolls which are actually further west than Kiritimati Island but which sit on the other side of the International Date Line.