Women in STEM advent calendar: Day 2 – Victoria Drummond MBE

This winter, we are celebrating the festive season by honouring 25 amazing women in STEM, some of which you might not know of!

Victoria Drummond MBE

Victoria Drummond MBE

First woman marine engineer in Britain
14 Oct 1894 – 25 Dec 1978
United Kingdom

Victoria Drummond was the first woman to serve in the British Merchant Navy and join the Institute of Marine Engineers. She served on 49 ocean voyages, as well as supervising shipbuilding in her native Scotland. She was awarded an MBE and the Lloyd’s War Medal for Bravery at Sea after staying alone at her post in the engine room when her ship, the SS Bonita, came under fire during WW2.

For more about Victoria Drummond, take a look at:


Day 1 – Tapputi Day 3 – Dr Susan La Flesche Picotte


Celebrating Ada Lovelace: A timeline

In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day’s 10th year, we would like to look back on all the groups and individuals that have honoured Ada Lovelace over the years. With that in mind, we’ve created a timeline of books, academic research, events, projects, films, documentaries and many other activities, to try and capture all the contributions that have helped make Ada and her achievements more recognised.

1950 – Computing Machinery and Intelligence, AM Turing, Mind, Volume LIX, Issue 236, 1 October 1950, Pages 433–460.
– This is Alan Turing’s seminal piece on artificial intelligence, in which he discusses Lady Lovelace’s Objection. 

1980 – The ADA programming language
– A computing language designed by Jean Ichbiah at CII Honeywell Bull, for the US Department of Defense.

1985 – Ada: A Life and a Legacy
– A biographical book on Ada Lovelace, 
by Dorothy Stein, reviewed by Garry J. Tee.

1990 – The Difference Engine
– An alternative history fiction book, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling that includes Ada Lovelace as a character, giving a lecture in France.

1994 – The Ada Project
– An online project for information and resources about women in computing (found here).

1997 – Conceiving Ada
– A film about a computer scientist who becomes obsessed with communicating with Ada Lovelace, starring Tilda Swinton as Ada.

1997 – Zeros and Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture
– A book by Sadie Plant exploring technology and women, featuring Ada Lovelace, reviewed by Nina Wakeford for New Scientist.

1998 – The Lovelace Medal
– An award established by the British Computing Society (BCS) for outstanding contributions to computer science.

1999 – The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason and Byron’s Daughter
– A biography by Benjamin Woolley, reviewed by John Zukowski.

2001 – Ada Lovelace: The Computing Wizard of Victorian England
 – This is a children’s book by Lucy Lethbridge.

2004 – Lovelace & Babbage and the creation of the 1843 ‘notes’, J. Fuegi and J. Francis, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 16-26, Oct.-Dec. 2003.
– An academic research paper expanding on Babbage and Lovelace’s work.

2005 – Adafruit
– Online store for electronics products and maker kits, founded by Limor “Ladyada” Fried.

2008 – The Lovelace Colloquium
– An annual one day conference for women computer science students, held by The British Computing Society women group (BCSWomen).

2009 – Ada Lovelace Day
– The annual celebration of women and girls in STEM, held on the second Tuesday in October, and founded by Suw Charman-Anderson.

2010 – Ada’s Technical Books
– A bookstore in Seattle named after Ada, that sells technical and geeky books.

2011 – The Ada Initiative
– A project to increase the participation of women in the open source and open culture communities, run in the US until 2015.

2012 – Google Doodle
– On Ada’s 197th birthday, a Google Doodle was drawn in her honour.

2013 – The Ada Developers Academy
– Academy to increase diversity in tech by training people to be software developers.

2013 – Ada’s Algorithm: How Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s Daughter, Launched the Digital Age Through the Poetry of Numbers
 – James Essinger’s biography of Ada, reviewed by Kirkus.

2013 – A Female Genius: How Ada Lovelace Lord Byron’s Daughter Started The Computer Age
 – This is the US edition of Ada’s Algorithm, by James Essinger, with 5,000 additional words, reviewed by Colin Barker for ZDNet.

2013 – Ada’s List
– An email community for women in technology, launched on Ada Lovelace Day.

2013 – Ada Lovelace: An Interdisciplinary Conference Celebrating her Achievements and Legacy
– Academic conference organised by the Stevens Institute of Technology.

2013 – Great Lives
– BBC Radio 4 show on Ada Lovelace, with Konnie Huq and Suw Charman-Anderson.

2014 – The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
 – The history of computer science, including Ada Lovelace as one of the innovators, by Walter Isaacson (wiki entry here).

2015 – The Ada Lovelace Initiative
– Community initiative in Ireland, connecting women in tech with secondary schools in order to provide female role models and increase uptake amongst girls.

2015 – Ada Lovelace Awards
– An award founded by LookFar, to recognise and showcase the achievements of women in the tech industry.

2015 – The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
– Graphic novel by Sydney Padua, of an alternative reality where Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage create the Difference Engine (wiki entry here).

2015 – Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
 – A children’s book by Laurie Wallmark, reviewed by Maria Russo for the New York Times.

2015 – Lady Byron and her Daughters
 – A book about the life of Lady Byron by Julia Markus, reviewed by Anne Boyd Rioux for the LA Review of Books.

2015 – Ada Lovelace: Victorian Computing Visionary, by Suw Charman-Anderson, Ada User Journal: V 36, No 1, March 2015, pp 35
– Bicentennial edition featuring several articles about Ada Lovelace.

2015 – Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing
– Documentary that aired on BBC Four, presented by Dr Hannah Fry.

2015 – The Letters of Ada Lovelace
 – BBC Radio 4 Dramatisation, presented by Georgina Ferry.

2015 – Ada. Ada. Ada.
– Stage show of the story of Ada Lovelace, written and directed by Zoe Philpott.

2015 – UK passports
– Update to the passports that included Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage on pages 46 and 47.

2015 – A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention
 – Collection of stories about women in science, including Ada Lovelace, edited by Suw Charman-Anderson.

2016 – Ada, the National College for Digital Skills
– A college founded to help fill the digital skills gap and encourage inclusion in the tech industry.

2016 – PRACE Ada Lovelace Award
– An award founded by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) to honour an outstanding woman scientist working in high performance computing.

2016 – Programming Pioneer Ada Lovelace
 – A children’s book and part of the STEM Trailblazer Biography series, by Valerie Bodden.

2016 – Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer
– Children’s book by Fiona Robinson, reviewed by Emma Coonan.

2016 – Idea Makers: Personal Perspectives on the Lives & Ideas of Some Notable People
 – Book by Stephen Wolfram, includes a chapter on Ada Lovelace.

2016 – Ada’s Legacy: Cultures of Computing from the Victorian to the Digital Age
 – Book by Robin Hammerman and Andrew L. Russell, that developed after the Ada academic conference.

2016 – The multifaceted impact of Ada Lovelace in the digital age, Aiello, L. C, Artificial Intelligence, V 235, pp. 58-62
– An academic review of Ada’s Legacy.

2017 – Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace
– An historical fiction novel by Jennifer Chiaverini, reviewed by Amanda Skenandore.

2017 – The Early Mathematical Education of Ada Lovelace, Hollings, C., Martin, U, and Rice, A. BSHM Bulletin: Journal of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, pp. 221-234.
– Academic research investigating the early education of Ada.

2017 – The Lovelace–De Morgan mathematical correspondence: A critical re-appraisal, Hollings, C., Martin, U, and Rice, A. Historia Mathematica, vol 34, no 3, pp. 202-231.
– Academic research paper presenting a detailed contextual analysis of some of Ada’s correspondence.

2017 – Ada and the Engine
– A stage play of Ada’s life by Lauren Gunderson.

2017 – Ada Lovelace Gin
– Part of the Great Women Spirits collection created by The Family Coppola, and released on Ada Lovelace Day.

2017 – Ada Lovelace: Consulting Mathematician
– A boardgame by 
Robin David, where Ada Lovelace has to solve the crime of a missing artifact.

Credit: Satellogic

2018 – ÑuSat 4 “Ada”
– Satellogic’s microsatellite ÑuSat 4, named in honour of Ada Lovelace, was launched aboard a Long March 2D rocket on 2 February.

2018 – The Ada Lovelace Institute
– Independent organisation formed to offer research and commentary on artificial intelligence, data and related technologies.

2018 – Ada Lovelace Excellence Scholarship
– A scholarship fund offered by University of Southampton, for female undergraduates studying Electronics & Computer Science.

2018 – Ada Lovelace
– Children’s book by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, part of the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, and reviewed by Allison at The Three Rs Book Blog.

2018 – In Byron’s Wake
– A biography by Miranda Seymour, reviewed by Lucy Lethbridge for the Literary Review.

2018 – Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist
– A biography by Christopher Hollings, Ursula Martin and Adrian Rice, reviewed by Suw Charman-Anderson.

2018 – Victoria
– Ada featured as a character in the ITV drama,  portrayed by Emerald Fennell.

2018 – Ada Lovelace Fellowship
– Funding for doctoral students from underrepresented groups, offered by Microsoft.

2018 – Top Quarkz
– Ada was turned into a superhero for the card game, Top Quarkz.

2019 – Doctor Who: The Enchantress of Numbers
– Ada featured as a character in this episode of the audio book Doctor Who: The Fourth Adventures, voiced by Finty Williams.

We would love to keep building on this document, so please do leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for us to add, or tweet to us @FindingAda.

Nominate women in STEM for an Honour

We are delighted to see several women in STEM getting recognition in the 2018 New Year Honours List for their dedication and achievements.

Credit: Anne-Katrin Purkiss

Helen Sharman OBE was made Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, Professor Pratibha Laxman Gai was made a Dame for services to chemical sciences and technology, and CBEs were awarded to Professor Caroline Dive, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, statistical epidemiologist Christl Donnelly, and engineer Professor Karen Holford, deputy vice chancellor of Cardiff University.

However, only 3 per cent of the awards went to science and technology recipients, and by our count, less than half of those went to women. Engineering was particularly poorly represented, and no one was honoured specifically for services to mathematics.

Since we know that there are plenty of excellent women doing fantastic work in STEM, we want to encourage you to nominate more women for future honours.

Credit: Intel Free Press/Isabelle Saldana

Honours are awarded to people who have made “life better for other people” or are “outstanding at what they do”. This cover activities and achievements like volunteering, making a difference to a community or area of work, innovation and improving lives for others. As well as detailing the reasons for your nomination, you should include all relevant work and volunteering they do, as well as awards they’ve received.

The Cabinet Office has helpfully provided a guide on how to write a nomination, with suggestions on the sorts of words and phrases that can help, as well as persuasive example paragraphs from previous nominations. Additionally, you should submit two supporting letters by people who know the nominee personally.

The application can include various types of evidence, such as articles about their work and photographs, to support your nomination. It can be completed online or you can print off a form and post it to them. Do note that the process differs if the person nominated lives or works outside of the UK.

There are no deadlines for submitting a nomination for an honour, but expect the process to take 12-18 months, due to the work required in considering and assessing each application. Additionally, the committee chooses the honour, so you cannot nominate for a particular award.

We hope that this inspires you to think about the women you know and put them forward for an honour!

Digital Science offer £25,000 Catalyst Grant

Catalyst_Grant(white_onblack)2Our friends at Digital Science love to nurture innovative research software ideas and are looking for ideas for software or apps that could help benefit scientific research or make life easier for researchers themselves. Past ideas have included software to look for patterns in vast data sets without human intervention, software to speed up the processing of neurological test results, and a tool that allows scientists to interact with the data in scientific papers.

If, as a researcher, you’re frustrated by a problem that you know you could fix with an app or software, or if you’re a software developer with friends in science who keep mentioning a problem that you think you could solve if only you had the cash to develop it, then the Catalyst Grant is for you. Ada Lovelace Day was awarded this very grant in 2015, which then allowed us to develop our resources database for women in STEM! So we can say from first-hand experience that you won’t just get cash from this grant, you’ll also get support and advice if you need it.

So, if you’ve got an idea then Digital Science have got the funding and friendly advice to bring it to life. You can learn more about the sorts of things to include in your application on their website.

The next application deadline is 30th June 2017 so there’s no time to lose. (Though if you do miss this one, they give out two grants a year and the next deadline is in December).

You can find out more about the Catalyst Grant on the Digital Science site, and if you have any questions about submitting then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Catalyst Grant team via catalyst@digital-science.com.

The Plotters’ Club

Ada Lovelace Day and the Arthur C. Clarke Award are excited to announce the launch of a new collaborative project, The Plotters’ Club, a Facebook group that provides a supportive space where women in STEM and women fiction writers can discuss and exchange ideas.

For women researching their next novel or short story, there’s nothing better than being able to ask an expert a specific question. The cutting edge of science and technology is a fertile breeding ground for ideas that can feed into the fiction of tomorrow, and for authors who like to just get things right, it’s a great opportunity to make sure that those little details that can make or break a story are correct.

ACharnockPortraitAnd for women in STEM, this is a great way to do innovative outreach and to ask for advice from writers about their own craft. Some of the best science writing has a strong narrative component, and authors can help STEM writers hone their outreach and writing skills.

The inspiration for this project began with a special Clarke Award ‘in conversation’ interview series exploring science fiction, STEM and writing, and featuring female authors and STEM professionals in conversation with science fiction author Anne Charnock (right). The first conversation with Ada Lovelace Day founder Suw Charman-Anderson, was published in February, and the second features author EJ Swift went up a few days ago.

We believe that fiction is a powerful medium for the communication of scientific ideas and, now more than ever, it’s vital to get this right. If you are interested in joining this woman-only group, you can find us on Facebook.