Ada Lovelace Day 2014

Ada Lovelace Day logoToday is Ada Lovelace Day. A day to celebrate the role that women have played in science.

This is going to be the third time that I have written about this great day. Both of my previous efforts can be found over here, and here.

That actually finishes all my science heroines. As that being the case I will now have to do some research and find out about some different women that I haven’t heard of before but have helped move science forward. Be that Beatrix Potter or Florence Nightingale. A great statistician but is only really know as “the lady with the lamp” because of her nursing during the Crimean War.

It’s what Florence did after the war is what makes here a hero in science. Inventing the Pie Chart, and Rose Diagram. A very simple way to show data in a brilliantly visual way. Pictures say a lot more than just boring numbers in a table. The relationships between the data can be easily seen.

Beatrix Potter, on the other hand was a bit of a polymath when it came to science.  She had an interest in most aspects of science but finally ended up working with fungi [ mainly for the colours ].  As with many women, most of her studies were ignored by the establishment.  She was not allowed to read a paper at the Linnean Society. The society did apologise for this, 100 years later. Better late than never…

Hedy Lamarr - 1942Hedy Lamarr is the third on this list of women who are not known for their help in advancing science.

In Hedy’s case, this was one of the inventions that is pivotal in the way mobile phones work. More exactly US patent 2,292,387 awarded for her work in co-inventing, with composer George Antheil, frequency hopping. A way to stop torpedoes being jammed in the Second World War.

With that invention, it helped to forward the research into squeezing more calls into a smaller frequency band.