Ada Lovelace Day

Kristin: Every year I feel I should post a blog for Ada Lovelace Day to celebrate women in science technology. After all, we blog, and Bridge8 is a predominantly female firm working in emerging technologies. Yet I am so easily sidetracked.

Ada Lovelace was one of the world’s first information technologists, a computer programmer for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. So when I think of Ada Lovelace, I immediately think of Charles Babbage which reminds me of the time I saw his brain in a glass case at an exhibition at The Serpentine in London in 1995, alongside Scott’s last rations and the actress Tilda Swinton asleep in a glass box. And instead of being reminded that I was in London to do electrochemistry at Imperial College, I am reminded of the other curious things of that trip such as a fulfilling and  unintelligible overnight train ride with a drunken lass from Glasgow and seeing Allen Ginsberg perform his beat poetry in a venue made to fit the mood.

See? I digress.

But sticking with memories reminds me of the some of the women I’ve met more recently working in science and technology. Miriam Luizink at MESA+ in Enschede and the wonderful conversation we had about the HighTech factory program, alongside a discussion on arts-science practices. Interviewing Tanya Monro at the University of Adelaide on advanced manufacturing, getting so much intelligent detail and insight from a short conversation that I went home with a headache. And getting precise and helpful feedback from Amanda Ellis at Flinders University on AccessNano and others projects we’ve been working on.

These weren’t the first woman in technology to pop into my mind though. That honour belongs to my best friend and flatmate from university Helen Stanton, who took off around Australia working as a metallurgist, conquering world fishing records and the outback of WA, now equally at home in the boardroom of a major energy company or on a North Queensland beach. Hi Helen.

If there’s a theme to my musings on Ada Lovelace Day it’s to celebrate the brilliant, the ordinary and the unexpected in the way that we pursue, experience and will remember our careers in science and technology.

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