Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

A friend on Facebook pointed out that today is Ada Lovelace Day. Who is Ada Lovelace you say? Well if you went to the website you'd read: "Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented."

Today is a day to honor women in science and technology. I'll be the first one to admit I don't know much about what women have been doing in science or technology. I'm a "creative" after all. I do like reading about "uppity" woman who don't let men stand in the way of their goals.

I'd have to say that my heroine in the "social" science category is Amelia Edwards who was the first female Egyptologist. In 1882 she was a co-founder of what is now known as the Egyptian Exploration Society. When she died in 1892 she left money to fund the Edwards Chair of Egyptology. Her protege William Petrie was the first person to hold the chair. Sad to say that no women have held the chair.

Another woman I admire is Barbar Mertz. She was the first American women to get a Ph.d in Egyptology in 1950. She is currently on the board of KMT (A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt), Egypt Exploration Society and the James Henry Breasted Circle of the Oriental Institute. She is probably better known as an author. She writes as Elizabeth Peters or Barbara Michaels. As Peters she writes the Amelia PeabodySeries which take place in Egypt in the lat 19th century..

In the "hard" science category I'd have to say I'm rather proud of Dr. Roberta Bondar who was the first Canadian female in space. She was also the first neurologist in space. She holds numerous degrees in zoology, pathology and neurology. Bondar flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22-30, 1992.

We are very lucky to live in a time where, for the most part, women are considered just as capable as men. We should all remember the women who came before us. Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

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