Mentorship and support for women in STEM

Inspiring Science and Innovating Science Award longlists

An amazing selection of women has been announced for the longlist of the women in science research and advocacy awards, run by Nature and Estée Lauder.

The Inspiring Science Award recognises early career female researchers who are doing outstanding work, and our founder, Suw, was one of the judges. On the longlist are:

  • Dr Cara Battersby, who studies how stars are born in our galaxy’s centre at the University of Connecticut, USA
  • Dr Ilano Brito, who is pioneering systems-level methods to analyse the human microbiome at Cornell University, USA
  • Dr María Natalia Lisa, who is investigating signalling pathways employed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina,
  • Dr Shruti Naik, who studies how environmental stimuli collaborate with genetic factors to control immunity in the skin at New York University, USA
  • Dr Mirjana Pović, who studies galaxy formation and evolution, focused on nuclear activity in galaxies at the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Ethiopia, and Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Spain
  • Ritu Raman, who is designing synthetic materials that adapt to their environment in the same way as biological materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, who studies how hormones in the brain and body work to make animals, including humans, reproduce at the University of California, Davis, USA
  • Dr Corinna Stefanie Schindler, who studies physical organic chemistry at the University of Michigan, USA
  • Dr Kelsey A Stoerzinger, who studies reactions that convert solar energy into fuels at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington State, USA
  • Dr Dawn Tan, who studies the dynamics of light-matter interactions at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore

The Innovating Science award honours those involved with encouraging girls and women into science. The women and organisations listed for this award are:

  • Dr Marja Seidel for Cielo y Tierra, empowering girls through science inquiry activities, focusing on rural areas, global
  • Morgan DiCarlo for Civil Engineering Outreach, an outreach program to recruit high school women into engineering, USA
  • Madison Smither for From Student to Scientist and the Emmy Noether Award and Scholars Program, providing science opportunities to students outside of the classroom, and a $75,000 fellowship for a young female scientist to conduct graduate-level research and a mentorship program giving girls the ability to conduct laboratory research, USA
  • Anvita Gupta for LITAS for Girls, helping girls in computer sciences and STEM, USA
  • Dr Aliyah Weinstein for Letters to a Pre-Scientist, demystifying science careers by creating personal connections between students and real scientists, USA
  • Mambepa Nakazwe for Seeds of Change Foundation Zambia, advocating for girls with special needs to take up interest in information communication technology careers and empowers them with entrepreneurship skills, Zambia
  • Yasmin Kroll for Techbridge Girls, championing equality in STEM education and fair access to economic opportunities for all girls, USA
  • Dr Yvonne Commodore-Mensah for The African Research Academies for Women, providing fully-funded research opportunities for young women to complete a Summer Undergraduate Research Program at African universities, Africa
  • Fanni Szigeti for The Association of Hungarian Women in Science, promoting STEM and computer sciences among girls who are under-represented in these fields of education, Hungary
  • Rethabile Sonibare for Thope Foundation, empowering young girls in STEM, South Africa

The shortlist will be announced next month.

US Senate honours Ada Lovelace

US Senator Ron Wyden has introduced a resolution honouring Ada Lovelace and recognising Ada Lovelace Day to the Senate, the upper chamber of the United States Congress. The senator, who represents Oregon, submitted S.Res.592A resolution designating October 9, 2018, as “National Ada Lovelace Day” and honoring the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

The statement is a Simple Resolution, which is “used to express nonbinding positions of the Senate”. These resolutions often “express public gratitude for distinguished contributions; dramatize the virtues of individuals, groups, and causes; and perpetuate the remembrance of significant events” says a congressional report. “During the past two centuries, commemoratives have become an integral part of the American political tradition,” the report says.

We are delighted that Ada Lovelace’s achievements have been recognised in this way, and that the Senate chose to support our mission of raising the profile of women in STEM by giving Ada Lovelace Day itself official status in the US.

The full text of the resolution (PDF) reads:


Designating October 9, 2018, as ‘‘National Ada Lovelace Day’’ and honoring the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.


Mr. WYDEN (for himself and Mrs. FISCHER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on [25 July 2018]


Designating October 9, 2018, as ‘‘National Ada Lovelace Day’’ and honoring the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Whereas Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace, now known as Ada Lovelace, was born on December 10, 1815, in London, United Kingdom;

Whereas, from a young age, Lovelace displayed a gift for mathematics, languages, and the sciences;

Whereas, at the age of 17, Lovelace began to study mathematics under the guidance of scientist and translator Mary Somerville and, later, logician Augustus de Morgan;

Whereas, in 1833, Lovelace was introduced to inventor and mechanical engineer, Charles Babbage, and began to study his designs for the Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer;

Whereas Lovelace was the first person to recognize that the Analytical Engine could be used to manipulate symbols and letters and was the first person to theorize that the Analytical Engine could be used to create music and graphics;

Whereas, in 1843, Lovelace published step-by-step instructions for using the Analytical Engine to calculate Bernoulli numbers ‘‘without having been worked out by human head and hands first’’;

Whereas these insights gave Lovelace an unparalleled vision of the future of computer science, and she stated that ‘‘[a] new, a vast and a powerful language is [being] developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind’’;

Whereas the work of Lovelace went widely unrecognized until the 1950s, when her papers were republished, and their significance and her contributions to the fields of computer science and mathematics were finally acknowledged;

Whereas, in the 1980s, to honor the contributions of Lovelace, the Department of Defense named its newly created computer language ‘‘Ada’’ after Lovelace;

Whereas the second Tuesday in October is annually celebrated as Ada Lovelace Day and is intended to honor women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and their accomplishments and contributions to academia and the world; and

Whereas Ada Lovelace died on November 27, 1852, leaving behind a legacy of poetic science and reasoning, in which the arts and sciences are woven together to find new insights:

Now, therefore, be it

1 Resolved, That the Senate—
2 (1) designates October 9, 2018, as ‘‘National
3 Ada Lovelace Day’’; and
4 (2) honors the life and contributions of Ada
5 Lovelace, a leading woman in science and mathematics and the first computer programmer.

Senator Wyden tweeted:

And the British Embassy in Washington tweeted:

Join us on 9 October for Ada Lovelace Day!

Want to inspire girls to love code?
Or celebrate women in STEM?

Join people around the world in celebrating the tenth Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday 9 October and organise your own, independent event for girls or women in tech!

Every year, dozens of groups host their own events to mark the day, create new female role models, and support and encourage girls and women into STEM. These events take many forms — from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students, to women with well-established careers.

We’ve had events in cities from A Coruña to Zoetermeer, taking in Addis Ababa, Brasilia, Curitiba, Daejeon, Enugu, Florence, Granada, Halley Research Station, Ísafjörður, Johannesburg, Kathmandu, Ljubljana, Maharashtra, New York, Ockham, Pune, Quartu Sant’Elena, Recife, Sheboygan, Tunis, Ulster, Vilnius, Wellington, and York on the way. We only need someone in Xai-Xai, Xalapa, Xinghua or Xo’jayli to organise an event this year and we’ll have a full alphabet!

The enthusiasm with which people across so many countries have adopted Ada Lovelace Day, and the work that they have put in to organise their own events, shows just how widespread the desire is to support and inspire girls and women in STEM. Everyone who organises or attends an event is part of a global movement to champion girls and women in STEM and change the way we think about women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

You can be a part of this global movement by organising your own Ada Lovelace Day event this year. To help you, we’ve put together an Organiser Pack, along with some resources such as blank fliers. We’ve also created a new mailing list just for indie event organisers where we’ll share news and information as it comes in. And you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with all our indie event news.

So, let’s get going and make 2018, our tenth Ada Lovelace Day, the biggest  yet!


Supported by

Ep 20: The maths of image processing, treating cataracts with lasers and astronomer Caroline Herschel

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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.

Small note

We’d hoped to get this episode out at the end of last year, but technical and scheduling difficulties got in the way! This episode will be the last for a while, as we are focusing other projects.

In this episode

00:42: Dr Carola Schönlieb talks about how she uses maths to develop new ways to process images. 

31:47: We look at the invention of the Laserphaco Probe, a device that uses lasers to remove cataracts, by Dr Patricia Bath.

35:35: Hilary Harper-Abernethy talks about the life and works of astronomer Caroline Herschel.

Our interviewees

Dr Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb

Dr Carola Schoenlieb

Dr Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb is a Reader in Applied and Computational Analysis, head of the Cambridge Image Analysis (CIA) group at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), University of Cambridge. She specialises in the mathematics of digital image and video processing using partial differential equations and variational methods. Her team’s research includes the modelling and analysis of these methods, as well as developing their real-world applications.

She has won several prizes, including the London Mathematical Society’s Whitehead Prize in 2016 “for her spectacular contributions to the mathematics of image analysis”, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2017. She is the 2018 Mary Cartwright Lecturer of the London Mathematical Society, and has been a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute since 2016.

Hilary Harper-Abernethy

Hilary Harper-Abernethy is a is an amateur astronomer and member of Liverpool Astronomical Society and Society for the History of Astronomy. Her particular passions are the moons of this solar system and the stories of influential astronomers and women in science. She is also a folk singer, and enjoys researching the long oral tradition of English folk music. Professionally she is acknowledged as a passionate advocate of mental health and wellbeing, with more than 30 years’ experience as a public health specialist and nurse. She has a track record of initiating cultural and policy change and a successful history of developing and implementing strategy. This has involved leading needs assessments, designing and commissioning mental health services and leading public mental health and suicide prevention strategy. Hilary is joint author of Social Prescribing for Mental Health – A Guide to Commissioning and Delivery (Department of Health 2009).

The picture shows Harper-Abernethy at the Herschel museum in Bath, England, standing next to one of Caroline Herschel’s dresses.

Hilary was talking about German astronomer Caroline Herschel. Born in 1750, Herschel discovered several comets, was the first woman to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and to be made an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society. Here initial astronomical work involved the organising her brother, William Herchel’s, observations but she became a keen astronomer in her own right, discovering new nebulae, comets, and writing the Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars.

Discovery of the month

This month we look at the invention of the Laserphaco Probe, a device that uses lasers to remove cataracts, by Dr Patricia Bath.

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 and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.


Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

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