Ada Lovelace (via IBNLive)
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an opportunity to celebrate pioneering women in science, technology, engineering, and math. Who is Ada Lovelace, you ask? Well, just the person who wrote the first computer program, way back in the 1800s, before many women even had the right to vote. The awful thing is — not much progress has been made since then in supporting women in STEM fields.
That’s why Ada Lovelace day exists. Say the founders of the holiday:
It’s difficult to name the women excelling in STEM because they are all but invisible…Despite evidence that girls do well in such subjects at school, few go on to study them at university and even fewer then get jobs in these fields.
But female STEM superstars do exist. To celebrate them, two female scientists, Maia Weinstock and Anne Fausto-Sterling, are organizing a Wikipedia edit-a-thon today to help correct the imbalance between the number of male scientists and number of female scientists covered on Wikipedia. Join in if you have time!
And, of course, we have a few of our own superstars to celebrate today. Below, 7 talks from women who are expanding our scientific horizons:
When Larissa Oliveira arrived in Peru to study a new species of fur seal, she discovered that it was already threatened by the loss of its primary food source due to overfishing and the effects of climate change. She shares her story of taking action to convince governments and communities that the the little-known anchovita fish — and the creatures who depend on it — are worth saving. (Spanish, with English subtitles).
Flowers are astoundingly manipulative, and need to be if they are to defend themselves against predators, find food and reproduce. Heather Whitney sheds light on the invisible tactics flowers use to exploit their pollinators.
Microscopic organisms permeate our bodies and our buildings. While some of these microbes are detrimental to our health, others keep us alive. Jessica Green believes that we’re designing buildings to keep microbes out — regardless of whether they’re good or bad — and calls for a new breed of “interior groundskeepers.”
As a young university student, Andrea Armani became fascinated with the technology that scientists utilize to understand our world. Armani shows us the promise of some of the exciting new developments in scientific devices.
In recent years, honeybee food sources have been rapidly disappearing due to human development. Margaret Couvillion is part of a group of researchers who study the amazing systems of bee communication and social organization —even voting — to understand how bees find food, shelter and pollinate the crops that we rely on.
Beyond the study of nature and nurture — epigenetics. At TEDxOU, Courtney Griffins uncovers how two people born with identical DNA and similar upbringings can turn out very different.
The processing power of our current species of computers will soon hit their limit. But quantum computers (built atom-by-atom), could exponentially outclass even today’s most powerful and advanced supercomputers. And, Michelle Simmons explains, potentially change the way we do everything.
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