ALD Podcast: Ep 3, Hazel Gibson & Dr Erik Klemetti

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Welcome to the third episode Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. We’ll be talking 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

01:00: We talk to Hazel Gibson about geoscience cognition and communication — how the metaphors we use for geological concepts, like underground rivers, affect how well we understand geological processes.

26:33: And Dr Erik Klemetti, volcanologist and author of the Wired Eruptions blog, tells us about the work of vulcanologist Professor Anita Grunder.

Our interviewees

Hazel-GibsonHazel Gibson is a PhD research student at Plymouth University who works on geoscience cognition and communication; the study of what people think about geology and how they talk about it. With a background in engineering geology and public engagement, Hazel has worked all over the world sharing her curiosity for geological subjects wherever she goes. She blogs at My Patchwork Planet and for GeoLog and is also on Twitter, @iamhazelgibson.

You can read Hazel’s paper, A “mental models” approach to the communication of subsurface hydrology and hazards, on the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences open-access journal website. And you can watch her talk from Ada Lovelace Day 2013 at the bottom of this post, on YouTube or Figshare.

Dr Erik KlemettiDr Erik Klemetti is a volcanologist and petrologist at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio. He uses radiometric dating and chemical analysis of zircon crystals to find out how magma composition changes over time. Looking at the processes that create volcanic and other rocks tells us about the dynamic events that have created the Earth and will change the planet far into the future. Erik has been fascinated by geology since he was young, either with the vast mineral collection that his grandmother in Massachusetts had collected or with the vistas of Nevado del Ruiz from his grandparents home in Colombia. He also write a blog about volcanos, Eruptions, for Wired. You can follow Erik on Twitter @eruptionsblog.

And you can find out more about Professor Anita Grunder via her Oregon State University page, and read the Association of Women Geoscientists’ Outstanding Educator 2009 profile of her in their newsletter, Gaea.

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

Video

ALD Podcast: Episode 2, Fran Scott & Maia Weinstock

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Welcome to the second episode of the freshly minted Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. We’ll be talking 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

01:11: We talk to science communicator Fran Scott about her work designing science demos for television and schools, and how to get into a TV presenting career.

22:09: We also hear from Maia Weinstock, deputy editor at MIT news, who discusses the queen of nuclear research, Chien-Shiung Wu, her crucial role in disproving the Conservation of Parity and her vital contribution to the Manhattan Project.

Our interviewees

Fran ScottFran Scott is the only female science presenter on Children’s BBC. A scientist by training and an engineer at heart, Fran uses her knowledge of these subjects to explain their principles in entertaining, exciting and accurate ways often using high-impact demonstrations to prove her point. She has presented six series for Children’s BBC, five series for BBC Learning Zone, and one for BBC Worldwide, and has received numerous recognitions including a Royal Television Society award and three BAFTA nominations. WebTwitter

You can watch Fran setting rockets off with her finger during Ada Lovelace Day Live! 2013 either on YouTube or below:

 

Maia WeinstockMaia Weinstock is the deputy editor at MIT News and a writer specialising in science and children’s media. She has contributed to outlets including Scientific American, BrainPOP, Discover, SPACE.com, and NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers. Maia is a strong advocate for girls and women; most recently, she has been recognised for her science- and law-themed LEGO minifigure creations. She has also led efforts to increase the participation and visibility of women on Wikipedia. WebTwitter

You can read an excerpt from Maia’s chapter on Chien-Shiung Wu here on our website, and you can read the full chapter in our anthology, A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention, which is available as an ebook on Amazon for £1.99.

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 Suw Charman-Anderson.

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

ALD Figshare media hub launches

product-figshare-largeWe are very happy to announce that we are partnering with Figshare, another Digital Science Catalyst Award winner, to provide a central hub for all Ada Lovelace Day event organisers to share their photos, video, presentations, posters and any other media they produce. We will also be hosting materials from the last few Ada Lovelace Day Live! events on Figshare, along with our new indie event organisers pack (coming soon!), and our education pack. 

Mark Hahnel, Figshare CEO and founder, said, “Here at Figshare we are thrilled to partner with ALD, as we too want to mark women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. What better way to do this than power the technology to showcase the valuable outputs for such a flourishing initiative like Ada Lovelace Day”

Media on Figshare can be shared and embedded anywhere around the web, and Figshare provide viewing and other statistics, allowing us to know where and when our materials are viewed. Being a part of the wider Figshare community will also allow us to reach more people, and to make sure that ALD events organisers’ hard work is recognised and appreciated more widely. 

How to upload

If you have organised an independent Ada Lovelace Day event at any time and have some photos, video, presentations or other resources you’d like to share, uploading them is easy.

  • Create an account on Figshare
  • Go to My Data
  • Click ‘Create a new item’
  • Add your content and fill in the form. The more metadata you can add, the better.
  • You MUST use the tag “Ada Lovelace Day” and the appropriate year tag, “ALD15”, “ALD14” etc, in order for your content to be pulled into our main page and the year pages. If you do not use these tags, your content will not be attached to our portal.
  • Publish only when you are ready — published items can be edited but not deleted. Use the Preview function to make sure that your page looks the way you want it to.
  • If you get stuck, take a look at Figshare support.

You can upload photos, video, audio, presentations, PDFs, images, datasets and more! And the more materials we gather together, the more we will draw attention to the amazing work done by women in STEM.

ALD Podcast: Episode 1, Dr Helen Czerski & Clive Thompson

iTunes | Google Play | RSS (Soundcloud) | Stitcher

Welcome to the first ever episode of the brand spanking new Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. We’ll be talking 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

01:20: We talk to Dr Helen Czerski from University College London about her work as a bubble physicist, and about life on board a research ship.

24:55 We also hear from technology journalist Clive Thompson about Canadian metallurgist and research physicist Ursula Franklin, who’s perhaps most famous for her social and political critique of modern technology, which was published in print as The Real World of Technology. And Clive has written a lovely blogpost summarising the impact Franklin had on him and his career.

Our interviewees

Photo: University College LondonDr Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer at University College London. When she’s not in the lab or on a boat (or doing both at the same time) she presents science programmes for the BBC. Hew new book, Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, will be published by Transworld in the UK in November, and by Norton in the US, in January. Photo: University College London

WebTwitter

Clive ThompsonClive Thompson writes about how technology affects everyday life, and is currently working on his next book, about ‘how programmers think’. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and Wired, and author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. Photo: Tom Igoe

WebTwitter.

Thanks to our sponsor

ARMThis 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 Suw Charman-Anderson.

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.

iTunes & Subscriptions

You can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Unfortunately, a technical problem with our website is currently preventing us from adding our podcast to iTunes and other podcasting subscription service. We’re working on that, and hopefully we will have that problem solved by next month!

Our links

Why we’re working with the Arthur C Clarke Award

Clarke Award logoYesterday, I was happy to see Tom Hunter, director of the Arthur C Clarke Award, announce that he and I are working together to bring our two organisations closer together. In 2013, the Clarke Award was criticised for having an all-male shortlist. Having an all-male shortlist once in a while (this was only the second in nearly 30 years) should surprise no one, given how few science fiction books by women are published and then submitted for awards. Its statistical inevitability doesn’t, however, mean that the question of how many women write in the genre should go unexamined. Indeed, Tom and I have had some very long, very interesting conversations about it, and it was these conversations that lead us to decide to find a way to bring our organisations together.

STEM and science fiction suffer from the same ‘pipeline’ problem — it’s hard to attract women, and harder to retain them. And both fields have a problem with prejudice, including conscious sexism and the more pernicious unconscious bias. These are complex cultural challenges that need a lot of unpicking, and for which there isn’t a silver bullet. I’ve always been a pluralist and believe that to effectively tackle this problem we need to take many different approaches, none of which will be able to solve the whole problem, but each of which can deal with a particular facet. Together, these many different approaches can effect significant change.

One of the reasons I’ve been wanting to work with the Clarke Award is that there is a delightful overlap between science fiction and STEM, one that I’m keen to explore. Science fiction has inspired many a youngster to go into STEM, and advances in STEM have in turn inspired more authors than we can count. I’m excited to think about how a collaboration between ALD and the Clarke Award can help women on both sides of that equation!

Another reason for this is more personal: I grew up reading my Dad’s science fiction collection. Indeed, I graduated straight from Nancy Drew to Arthur C Clarke, EE Doc Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and whatever else my Dad had on his bookshelves. I read anything and everything, frequently when I should have been asleep.

The first science fiction author that I discovered for myself was Anne McCaffrey and she became one of my favourites. For the first time, I could read about women’s heroism, from a woman’s perspective. So much science fiction then was by men, about men, and for men, and whilst I would read it all and enjoy quite a bit of it, it didn’t speak to me. McCaffrey did.

Whether it was her Pern series, or The Crystal Singer, or Dinosaur Planet, or the Talents series, or any of her other books, McCaffrey’s women were opinionated, strong, talented, flawed and, above all, interesting. And they provided me with the the kinds of female role models that I didn’t see in everyday life, or even on TV. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, my main role models as a teen were McCaffrey’s Lessa and Killashandra, followed the very real Maggie Philbin, presenter on Tomorrow’s World. And that, really was all there was.

Role models aren’t just living women, or historical women, they are fictitious women too. We make sense of the world using stories, and fiction helps us explore ideas of what life would be like in a different reality. Before we can do something, we have to imagine it. Seeing women as leading characters in my favourite books, reading about women doing science, exploring the universe, as experts and leaders, and yes, even flying dragons, helps us to imagine ourselves doing those things, (especially flying dragons). These stories told me that someone, somewhere, thought that women could be more than just a footnote, a nameless character in the background, or a gruesome death to motivate a man.

So working with Tom and the Clarke Award on the issues facing women in science fiction speaks directly to the core mission of Ada Lovelace Day: to create new role models for girls and women in STEM. And it adds a new one: to inspire science fiction authors, especially women, with the amazing, astounding and real stories of women in STEM.