Let us know how your indie event went

Every year, Ada Lovelace Day sees dozens of people from around the world organising their own independent events to celebrate, promote and support girls and women in STEM. This year, we have over 115 events, with at least one on every continent so far and more coming in every day.

For the last three years, we have also been putting together End of Year Reports to talk about the work we’ve done over the previous twelve months. This year, we’d very much like to be able to provide our supporters with a clearer picture of how many people attend Ada Lovelace Day events around the world, to get a sense of how far the movement has grown over the last ten years.

To that end, we’d like to ask all event organisers to spend a few minutes giving us a little extra information about your events. If you ran multiple events, we’d be grateful if you could fill in the form once for each event. We will then be able to share the compiled results with you here on this blog and in our report for 2018.

If you have any questions about this form, please email Suw Charman-Anderson.

And finally, thank you so much for being a part of what makes Ada Lovelace Day so special!

Win a copy of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist!

In celebration of our 10th Ada Lovelace Day we are giving away a copy of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist, a new account of Ada Lovelace’s mathematical education and achievements by Lovelace scholar and mathematician Ursula Martin, along with co-authors and fellow mathematicians Christopher Hollings and Adrian Rice.

Whilst there are many biographies extant of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, none explore her interest in maths in the same level of detail as Hollings, Martin and Rice, nor do they provide such a fascinating and compelling glimpse into her childhood, education and personality. The authors have been working for some time on digitising and analysing previously unpublished letters to and from Lovelace, and this book is just one result of that project.

Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist is a beautifully written and extraordinarily approachable book. Liberally illustrated with scans of her letters, portraits, and illustrations, we get an insight into Lovelace’s own fascinations and interests, as well as how her education was structured or, indeed, not.

As a girl, Ada was not permitted a formal education, instead being taught by governesses and, later, her mother, Lady Anne Isabella (Annabella) Byron. Whilst this meant that Ada could, to some extent, focus on what interested her the most, the lack of a formal syllabus meant that at times she had to go back to fill in the blanks before she could progress.

Much of Lovelace’s mathematical education came through exchanging letters and sometimes meeting with mathematicians, including Dr William Frend, Mary Somerville and, crucially, eminent mathematician and logician, Augustus de Morgan. By 1841, when she was 25, Lovelace was revisiting algebra so that she could more easily tackle calculus. But she wasn’t content to just do the exercises and move on to the next chapter, she wanted to fully understand the underlying principles and would work on a problem until she had really cracked it.

It is through her letters and her mathematical education that Hollings, Martin and Rice paint a vivid picture of the kind of person Lovelace was, illustrating her determination, tenacity and intelligence. Of course, the culmination of her studies was the writing of Note G, a ‘footnote’ to Lovelace’s translation from French to English of Luigi Menabrea’s paper about Charles Babbage’s computing machine, The Analytical Engine. Note G very famously contains instructions for the calculation of Bernoulli Numbers, widely considered to be the first computer program. For many, though, Lovelace’s crowning achievement was not the program, but her vision of what The Analytical Engine could do, her realisation that if it could manipulate numbers then it could manipulate symbols and might thus be capable of creating music or graphics.

“Lovelace’s paper is an extraordinary accomplishment, probably understood and recognized by very few in its time, yet still perfectly understandable nearly two centuries later. It covers algebra, mathematics, logic and even philosophy: a presentation of the unchanging principles of the general-purpose computer; a comprehensive and detailed account of the so-called ‘first computer program’; and an overview of the practical engineering of data, cards, memory and programming.”

Hollings, Martin and Rice’s accomplishment is to take a maths-heavy subject and make it not just comprehensible to the non-mathematician, but thoroughly enjoyable. Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist’s only flaw is its brevity: It is so well-written that I could easily have read a version double the length.

If you would like to win a copy of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist, please share a link to this blog post on social media, then leave a comment below with a link to your social media post. Please make sure that the email in your comment profile works, so that we can get hold of you! The competition will close at midnight BST on 8 October, and we will announce the winning prize on Ada Lovelace Day, 9 October. Only open to residents of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. 

And talking of Ada Lovelace Day, don’t forget to get your tickets to our science cabaret event, Ada Lovelace Day Live at The IET in London, and check our worldwide map to see if there’s an indie event on near you!

Ada Lovelace Day Live! to be hosted by The IET Women’s Network for next three years

We are delighted to announce that Ada Lovelace Day Live!, our annual STEM cabaret featuring women in STEM from across the UK, will be hosted for the next three years by The IET Women’s Network.

We were last at The IET two years ago with ALD Live! 2016 — you can watch videos of that year’s talks on YouTube — and we are incredibly happy to be returning. The Kelvin Lecture Theatre is a fantastic space, providing a wonderful backdrop for our speakers and an elegant and comfortable experience for our audience.

The IET Women’s Network is an online, global, professional networking community for women in STEM, where members can share information, knowledge and business contacts as well as find exciting volunteer opportunities. It’s a great way for women on a career break to stay engaged with the industry and make new contacts.

Inspired by the lack of women in engineering roles in the UK, the network was set up in 2012 with the aim of utilising its members to help spread a positive message of women in STEM, offer support to those already in the profession, help to inspire the next generation and demystify engineering and related areas to the wider community.

“The IET is thrilled to provide continued support to Ada Lovelace Day Live!,” said Jo Foster, diversity & inclusion manager at The IET, “and celebrate the many achievements of women in STEM. ALD Live! is a great platform to promote the profession, alter perceptions and inspire the next generation of engineers.”

“I’m looking forward to being back at The IET for Ada Lovelace Day Live,” said founder Suw Charman-Anderson. “The venue has a fantastic team and I am excited about working with them over the next three years. ALD and The IET Women’s Network share an important mission to support women in STEM, and this collaboration will help us to inspire, support and excite more women about their studies and careers.”

You can keep up to date with The IET Women’s Network via their Facebook page, on Twitter @IETWomenNetwork and via their online community.

Ada Lovelace Day is 10!


Our first tweet!

It seems almost impossible to imagine, but this year will see the 10th Ada Lovelace Day, on Tuesday 9 October.

When I started ‘scheming’ in the autumn of 2008, I had no idea that Ada Lovelace Day would turn into something that would touch so many lives. What began as a day of blogging about women in technology has become a global phenomenon celebrating women in STEM, with independent events organised around the world. Since we started, there have been at least 453 independent events held in 157 different towns and cities, across 34 different countries, with at least one on every continent, including one event in Antarctica.

And these are just the events we know about – we frequently stumble on mentions of events that aren’t on our map!

All independent events since 2015

A truly global event

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.

Because this year is our tenth anniversary, we want to encourage more people to organise their own events, so we’ve launched a new mailing list specifically for organisers so that we can keep you inspired and informed about what’s happening this year. Just sign up using the form below.

If you want a bit of inspiration or help, then take a look at our indie event organisers pack, which has advice, as well as blank flyers, posters and our Indie Event logo, all of which can be downloaded from Figshare. We are in the process of translating the pack into Spanish, and if you’d like to translate it into your native language, please email me!

If you work for a museum, school, university, student union, learned society, professional body, STEM company, library, aquarium, art gallery, local council, entertainment venue, community group, or if you just want to get involved, please sign up to our mailing list and get organise your own event.

Let’s make 2018 a bumper year for Ada Lovelace Day around the world!