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This Week in Science

By Garrett Hayden
On October 27, 2014

This week on Wednesday, October 15, we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day. You might be wondering why this is significant, or what it has to do with science. Well this week I think it is appropriate to remember the great work that women have done in the sciences, and why we wouldn’t have near the understanding of the technologies we count on every day without them.

First off, who is Ada Lovelace, and why do we celebrate her? Well, Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician in the early to mid-1800s, which created the basis of computing that we still use today. In essence, she was responsible for modern day computers and the way we write algorithms in order to make them work.

She was the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, and was always interested in him and his way of thinking even until late in his life. This was to the dismay of her mother, Anne Isabella Byron, who had become bitter to her husband and considered him to be insane. For this reason, Anne encouraged Ada to study mathematics in an attempt to keep her from suffering the same fate.

Ada however saw her approach as more “poetical science” thanks to her father’s influence. This approach caused Ada to think of things in a grander scale, and opened up her mind to new, and at the time, far-fetched ideas theories about how “in society, individuals and technology collaborate.”

Ada Lovelace may be one of the most famous women to revolutionize science, and may have been way ahead of her time, but she certainly wasn’t the first, and definitely wasn’t the last. It is unfortunate that the sciences today seem to still be dominated by men, and as a result, the common image of a “scientist” of a male in a lab coat, leading young women to feel stigmatized for enjoying or understanding scientific study; however, without women scientists, we would be nowhere near the point of understanding we are today, and won’t be able to advance without their brilliant minds in the future.

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