Are you ready for Ada Lovelace Day 2013?

This year’s Ada Lovelace Day is just five months away, which means that it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get involved this year. As usual, we are planning a live event in London on the evening of 15 October, but you can organise your own event, big or small, wherever you are. Last year we had over twenty grassroots events — everything from talks to art exhibitions, from pub meet-ups to conferences — held around the world, and this year we want to at least double that.

We would also like to leave a permanent legacy so, inspired by the huge success of last year’s Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons held by The Royal Society, Wikipedia Sweden and Harvard Law School, we would like to suggest that you organise your own Wikipedia editing event. Of course, if you’d prefer to do something else, that’s absolutely fine too!

Wikpedia is a key resource for millions of people, but women are sadly underrepresented, both as entry subjects and as participants. Wikipedia is easy to edit, so we would like to encourage both men and women to get together during October to add biographical information about notable women to the online encyclopaedia.

If you belong to a STEM-related group, why not ask the organisers to devote one meeting during the autumn to editing Wikipedia? Or offer to help put on a special Ada Lovelace Day meet-up for your edit-a-thon? If you don’t belong to any official groups, why not gather your friends together at a pub with wifi and help each other research and create new entries, or expand existing stub articles on notable women?

Five months may seem like a long way away, but now is the time to get organising. To help you, Wikipedia has a guide to running your own edit-a-thon, but if you have questions please leave them in the comments to this blog post so that we can answer them for everyone. We are also talking with Wikimedia UK to run a super-user training session so that groups that organise their own session can have one of their own trained up to help others learn how to edit.

We’ll have more information about possible training sessions in due course, but in the mean time, if you’re interested in running an edit-a-thon, now’s the time to get started with finding a venue and date. And remember, your event doesn’t have to be on Ada Lovelace Day itself but can be any convenient date around 15 October.

We’ll also provide a way for you to let us know when and where your event is, and will publicise it on the Finding Ada website, in our newsletters and on Twitter for you. Don’t forget to find someone to help you record the event, either  with video it or photos, so that your work can inspire others around the world!

Stay tuned for more info!

International Women’s Day: Influential women in web technology and science

This guest post is by Arne Hulstein, who works with Twitter analytics company Peerreach. 

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women and the effect they have on our society. At Peerreach we analyse over 400 million tweets per day to find out who your audience is and in what field your influences lie. So, specially for Finding Ada, I decided to check up on the ten most influential women worldwide on Twitter in the fields of web technology and science, women who inspire others in their field.

The top 10 women in web technology worldwide

Kara Swisher – Co-Executive editor, AllThingsD
Marissa Mayer – Yahoo!
Caterina Fake – Founder, Findery. Cofounder of Flickr and Hunch
Sarah Lacy -Reporter/author in Silicon Valley
Danah Boyd – Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research
Alexia Tsotsis – Co-Editor at TechCrunch
Esther Dyson – Chairman of EDventure Holdings
Veronica Belmont – Host of @Tekzilla on @Revision3 and The @SwordandLaser
Liz Gannes – Writes for AllThingsD
Gina Trapani – @ThinkUp & @todotxt. Started @Lifehacker

The top 10 women in science worldwide

Dr. Kiki Sanford –  PhD Neurophysiology, independent Science media and journalism
Alice Bell – Academic and writer. Interested in science in society
Rebecca Skloot – Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA 
Emily Lakdawalla – Planetary Society blogger
Maria Popova – Editor of @brainpickings & @explorer
Maggie Koerth-Baker – Science editor at @BoingBoing
Joanne Manaster – Biology lecturer, video science book reviewer
Deborah Blum – Chemistry Geek, book author, blogger, journalist, professor
Hannah Waters – Smithsonian @OceanPortal producer, @SciAm blogger, writer
Karen James – Scientist @mdibl, co-founder & director @beagleproject

We have been monitoring the #womensday hashtag today and it is great to see that, even though two thirds of all tweets are by women, men are also tweeting. This is a good step towards the gender equality that is the theme of International Women’s Day 2013.

Ada Lovelace Day 2012: Thank you!

Ada Lovelace Day itself is over for this year, although there are still a few events yet to happen such as the XX Game Jam; the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon organised by Wikimedia UK and the Royal Society; the Girl Geek Dinner Milano; and the ADA Lab Lunch in Vicenza (details on the Worldwide Events page).

Ada Lovelace Day Live! feat. the WES Karen Burt Memorial Award was, as you might expect, absolutely fantastic and I would like to thank everyone who made it such an amazing evening.

Helen Arney

Helen Arney, photo by Andrew Steele.


I must particularly thank our speakers, Dr Suzie SheehyGia MilinovichDr Helen ScalesHelen KeenDr Alice BellSarah AnglissSydney Padua and Tracy King, all of whom gave up their time for free, and put so much energy and thought into a series of talks, performances and demonstrations that blew our collective minds. It was an amazing evening of full of science, passion, and the stories of some genuinely awe-inspiring women whose dedication to exploration and discovery was inspirational.

Very special thanks to Helen Arney, who not only hosted the event but also produced it, finding speakers and ensuring that the evening gelled as a performance. I’m also very grateful to her fantastic team of volunteers, Kirsty Chestnutt, Helen Clarkson, Marianne Baker and Julie Bristow, with whom she ran a show that would have been as at home in the Bloomsbury Theatre as it was at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

None of this would have been possible without Dawn Bonfield and the Women’s Society of Engineers (WES). It was only through collaborating with WES and the IET that we were able to enjoy such a great venue. So thanks to the staff of the IET who made the evening go so smoothly and who thought of many small details that we had missed, and also to the WES volunteers who helped out on the night: Grazyna Whapshott, Esther Ogundipe, Collete Owhonda and Susan Abraham.

I must also thank Milada Williams, WES president, as well as Karen Burt’s family for their support of the evening, and congratulate Kate Cooksey, winner of the WES Karen Burt Memorial Award.

Further thanks to Miles Taylor, an essential member of the Ada Lovelace Day/Finding Ada team who has provided much needed administrative and research support.

I’m also very grateful to our volunteers on the night, Neil Ford, Aidan Goatley, Joel Mitchell, Louise Ferguson, Maggie Berry and Owen Blacker, as well as BCSWomen, WPEngine and Evectors, and all the bloggers, podcasters, Tweeters and journalists who have helped us spread the word not just about the event but about the day itself. And, as ever, many thanks to all the people around the world who organised their own events, especially the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment  and the London Games Festival for organising the XX Games Jam.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to my husband, Kevin Anderson, for his continued help and support.

– Suw Charman-Anderson, Founder, Ada Lovelace Day


Reaching for the sky, stars and beyond
If you’re short of inspiration for this year’s Ada Lovelace Day, take a look at this infographic by Gaverne Bennett. Click the thumbnail to download a bigger PDF version.

Childe Byron

Jennifer Summerfield as Ada Lovelace

Jennifer Summerfield as Ada Lovelace, photo Kyle Cassidy

The Allens Lane Theater in Philadelphia, PA, is putting on Romulus Linney’s play, Childe Byron, about Ada Lovelace and her relationship to the father she never knew, Lord Byron.

As her own end draws near, Ada Byron Lovelace is seized with a desire to know more about her profligate father.  Stimulated by the drugs she takes for her illness, Ada summons Lord Byron to life and, in sharp, sarcastic exchanges, probes into the truth behind the myth. The life and art of Byron unfold and in the end the private man, the public figure and the protean poet are reconciled, while Ada, a genius in her own right, finds peace with herself and the father she never knew.

In this video, actress Jennifer Summerfield discusses the challenges of bringing Ada to the stage.

Jennifer, who is also known as Trillian Stars, told the Geekadelphia blog:

I love having the opportunity to play a woman whose life is so well documented; usually an actor’s homework involves coming up with your own character history, limited only by imagination. With Ada, however, I’ve had an amazing journey through the 19th Century, reading her letters and the letters of her father, Lord Byron, as well as Byron’s poetry. She was a fantastically complex person and is extremely difficult to portray with complete justice, because there were so many contradictions in her personality… both a woman of her time and ahead of it, poetic but scientific, cold yet emotional… and she often contradicted herself from one letter to another, making it difficult to pin her down and determine motivations.

A challenge like Ada is enough to draw me as an actor; there’s a need to get inside her head and look around, find the solution to this wonderful, complicated woman, just as Ada tries to discover the solution to her father, Lord Byron, in the play.

If you’re in the Philadelpha area, get your tickets and go along to one of the last two performances.

Childe Byron
Written by Romulus Linney
Directed by Ellen Wilson Dilks
Remaining dates: Oct. 12, 13
Run Time: 1hr 50min with intermission