Ep 16: Fire engineering, Liquid Paper, and understanding memory and cognition

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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

01:30: Kristen Salzer-Frost introduces us to the relatively new discipline of fire engineering.

25:05: Our Discovery of the Month is the intriguing story of Liquid Paper, invented by Bette Nesmith Graham.

29:25: Nicole George and Cordon Purcell talk about why neuropsychologist Dr Brenda Milner’s work on memory and cognition has been so influential.

Our interviewees

Kristen Salzer-Frost

Kristen Salzer-Frost is a Lecturer in Fire Engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University who started her career as a Fire Safety Engineer in Australia before moving to the UK. Her specialties include computer modelling of fire and evacuation, practical fire safety building design strategies, international fire engineering projects and fire safety design in historic buildings. She is currently completing her PhD in two-way coupling of fire and evacuation models with the Fire Safety Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich.

Nicole George and Cordon Purcell

Nicole GeorgeNicole George is currently completing her Master’s of Neuroscience at McGill University, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Windsor. She is currently studying the pathophysiology of chronic pain. You can follow her on Twitter @nicgeorge5.

 

 

 

Cordon Purcell

Cordon Purcell is a Registered Music Therapist (MTA), who graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy from the University of Windsor. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Music Therapy at Concordia University, where her research involves a self-heuristic paradigm, investigating her relationship to music. You can follow her on Twitter @cordonpurcell.

The Superwomen in Science podcast discusses “the past, present and future of women in science, highlighting a wide variety of scientific endeavours as well as issues facing women in science”. You can listen on Soundcloud or iTunes, and can follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

 

Nicole and Cordon were talking about Dr Brenda Milner, whose work with Patient HM over the course of three decades “established that people have multiple memory systems, governing different activities like language or motor skills, opening the way for a greater understanding of how the brain works.”

 

 

 

Discovery of the month

Our Discovery of the Month is something definitely of its time: The invention of Liquid Paper by Bette Nesmith Graham in 1951, and her development of the Liquid Paper Corporation into a multimillion dollar global business.

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.

 

Credits

Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

Ep 15: Life as a tech reporter, automotive safety features and WWII metallurgy

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

00:28: Zoe Kleinmann talks about life as a tech reporter for the BBC.

26:40: We explore the contributions that women have made to the automotive industry, including safety and comfort features that we now take for granted!

30:55: Dr Paul Coxon from the University of Cambridge on the fascinating work of metallurgist Constance Tipper.

Our interviewees

Zoe Kleinman

Zoe KleinmanZoe Kleinman is a high profile BBC journalist and broadcaster, regularly seen and heard across BBC radio, TV and online.

From cybersecurity and hacking to artificial intelligence and driverless cars, Zoe brings tech and business stories to a mainstream global audience of millions across international radio, TV and online outlets including Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC World News.

She travels the world in search of the Next Big Thing – flying selfie-taking drones in the Nevada desert, spending the night in a house full of robots, being turned into a human beatbox, climbing Mount Everest (using virtual reality, in a hotel room in Las Vegas)  and trying to survive for 48 hours using only Bitcoin on the Isle of Man – where she discovered it was easier to buy beer than breakfast.

Zoe is also a mum of two children and as a result can build pretty much anything out of Lego.

You can follow Zoe on Twitter @zsk.

Dr Paul Coxon

Paul CoxonPaul Coxon is a physicist in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. His research focusses on new materials for sustainable energy generation and battery devices. He is currently developing extremely black nano-surfaces to improve PV cells by increasing their ability to trap the full spectrum of the sun. He is a keen science communicator always eager to engage the public in the wonders of materials science. Frequently appears on radio and TV, and regularly contributes to popular science magazines and blogs on renewable energy, solar photovoltaics, energy materials and storage. He can be found on Twitter at @paulcoxon.

Constance TipperPaul was talking about Constance Tipper, a metallurgist, crystallographer, and the first woman to be appointed to the Department of Engineering at Cambridge. She was interested in metals and how the crystalline structure affected their strength and mechanical properties. She made her name in helping understand why the all-welded “Liberty Ships” which fed Britain and Europe during WW2 kept failing and splitting in two.

Discovery of the month

We talk about some of the inventions that have made our motoring lives safer and more comfortable, including the windscreen wiper, turn and brake signals, and the car heater.

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 14: Sensing chemicals, uncovering discoveries, and wiring Devon for light and power

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

00:38: Dr Raychelle Burks tells us about the challenges of making field-ready and affordable chemical sensors and how tricky it is to accurately analyse the colours in photographs.

23:45: Why is it so hard to tell the stories of women’s discoveries and inventions?

27:46: Anne Locker, the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Library and Archives Manager, talks about the life and work of Margaret Partridge, an electrical engineer whose company installed electric lighting and power in Devon.

Our interviewees

Dr Raychelle Burks

Dr Raychelle BurksDr Raychelle Burks is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at St. Edward’s University. Her research focuses on the development of detection methods for a wide variety of drugs and explosives.

Beyond the bench and classroom, she is a popular science communicator. She appears on the Science Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science and in ACS Reactions videos, plus writes a monthly forensic science column for Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry. A passionate STEM outreach advocate, she is the creator and manager of GeekGirlCon’s DIY Science Zone.

Anne Locker

AAnne Locker sqnne Locker is head of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s  Library and Archives. She has worked extensively on the history of engineering and electrotechnology, and has a particular interest in the history of women in engineering and technology and the introduction of domestic electricity into the modern home.

For more information on the IET’s Library and Archives collections, including the archives of the Women’s Engineering Society, please visit theiet.org/library.

 

Margaret PartridgeIn this episode, Anne talks about pioneering electrical engineer Margaret Partridge (right), who in the early 20th century ran a business installing electric power and lighting to houses and villages in rural Devon. Partridge was a keen supporter of women in engineering, taking on many as apprentices. She also lectured at the Electrical Association for Women, co-authored The Electrical Handbook for Women, and contributed to the EAW’s  journal, The Electrical Age.

Discovery of the month

This month, we explore some of the challenges we’ve faced when researching women’s inventions and discoveries, and why it’s so hard to tell some of these stories.

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 13: Flexible solar cells, how a piano inspired wifi, and the inspirational role of science fiction

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

00:46: Dr Jess Wade explains plastic electronics and how they are revolutionising solar power generation, amongst other things.

30:45: We explore the invention of frequency hopping, a technique for protecting a radio signal by rapidly changing which frequency it is transmitted on, spreading the signal out over a wide band of the radio spectrum.

34:17: Author Robin Sloan talks about the work of Ann Leckie, her award winning book, Ancillary Justice, and how fiction inspires science.

Our interviewees

Dr Jess Wade

Dr Jess WadeDr Jess Wade is a post doctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London focused on light emitting didoes. She is also a member of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Young Women’s Board and is working with the young members board of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to design a PDF resource for schools outlining how awesome jobs in engineering are (the theme is ‘engineer a better world’).

Jess has also worked with the Institute of Physics on their Improving Gender Balance project, and with a new EU-collaboration led by the Association of Science Centres called ‘Hypatia’ looking at gender balance in educational initiatives across the EU. She is involved with the Further Maths Support Network and the Stimulating Physics Network CPD, both of which focus on helping teachers, and the Turinglab, which offers free coding classes to girls in years 7 to 10. She has done fundraising for the Institute for Research in Schools, whose Amazing Atmosphere project, funded by the UK Space Agency, launched recently at the Eden Project.

Jess is planning a series of wikithons across the country for summer 2017, adding the stories of inspiring women in chemistry that have been lost to old journals and archives. If you’d like to take part, do get in touch with her.

You can read more about the work of the Imperial plastics electronics team on their website, and find out more about Jess at Making Physics Fun. And you can follow her on Twitter @jesswade.

Robin SloanRobin Sloan

Robin Sloan is an American best-selling author whose first novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, hit the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list and the NPR Hardcover Fiction Bestseller List in 2012.

Between 2002 and 2012, Robin worked at Poynter, Current TV, and Twitter, and says that his job “had something to do with figuring out the future of media”. He is “interested in content (words, pictures, ideas) who also experiments with new formats, new tools, and new technology”.

Ann LeckieYou can find out more about Robin on his website, and can follow him on Twitter @robinsloan.

Robin was talking about science fiction author Ann Leckie, whose first novel, Ancillary Justice, won the Hugo, Nebula, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. She then went on to write two sequels to Ancillary Justice: Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy. You can follow her on Twitter @ann_leckie.

 

Discovery of the month

Hedy LamarrThis month, we explore the invention of frequency hopping, a technique for protecting a radio signal by rapidly changing which frequency it is transmitted on, spreading the signal out over a wide band of the radio spectrum. Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr and her collaborator avante-garde musician George Antheil were awarded a patent for their “Secret Communications System” in 1942, and it now underpins many communications technologies.

 

Competition winner

Storm in a TeacupIn March, we had a signed copy of Dr Helen Czerski’s Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, to give away. In this, her newest book, Helen uses physics to answer some vexing questions, such as why does it take so long for ketchup to come out of a bottle? And, how do ducks keep their feet warm when they’re walking on ice?

We are happy to announce that the very lucky winner is Kirsty Burridge! Congratulations Kirsty!

If you want to see Helen talking about her book and her work, then get yourself along to the Hay Festival on 27 May, Cheltenham Science Festival on 7 June, or the British Humanist Association Convention on 10 June. More details on Helen’s 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.

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 12: What our voices say about us, an explosive spot test, and the rewards of persistence

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

00:34: Neuroscientist Professor Sophie Scott explains how our voices tell others more about us than we might realise!

28:35: We find out more about Dr Betty Harris’s spot test for the explosive TATB, used now in airports and for cleaning up the environment.

32:19: Science writer Simon Singh tells us the story of two incredible women, French mathematician Sophie Germain and American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt.

Our interviewees

Professor Sophie Scott

Professor Sophie ScottProf Sophie Scott is a cognitive neuroscientist as University College London who studies the neurobiology of speech perception, including the evolution of speech, the difference between intelligibility and comprehension, and profiles of recovery in aphasia (where a patient has difficulty understanding or producing speech). She also works on dyslexia and the processing of emotional information in the voice, but is most well known for her work on laughter.

Sophie’s Ada Lovelace Day Live 2013 talk on laughter can be watched on YouTube and at the bottom of this page. Her TED talk has been viewed 2.5 million times, and she gave an hour-long lecture on the subject in 2015 lecture for The Physiological Society.

Sophie has more information about her research and publications on her website, and you can follow her on Twitter @sophiescott.

Simon Singh

Simon SinghSimon Singh is a science writer who lives in London. After completing a PhD in particle physics at the University of Cambridge and CERN, he joined the BBC and won a BAFTA for his documentary about Fermat’s Last Theorem. He has since written four bestselling science books (and co-authored one moderate-seller), including Fermat’s Last Theorem, the first book about mathematics to become a No.1 bestseller. His other books are The Code Book, Big Bang, Trick or Treatment? and The Simpsons & Their Mathematical Secrets.

He is also founder of GOOD THINKING, a charity that promotes science and challenges pseudoscience, and one its main ongoing projects aims to stretch strong mathematicians in secondary schools from age eleven upwards. Between 2008 and 2013, after being sued for libel, Simon was a leading figure in the libel reform movement that campaigned for free speech, and which resulted in the Defamation Act 2013.

You can find out more about Simon on his website, and can follow him on Twitter @SLSingh.

Dr Betty HarrisDiscovery of the month

This month we look at the invention of a spot test for the explosive TATB by Dr Betty Harris, which not only helps us to clean up the environment, but is also used to check for explosives at airport security.

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

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