Ada Lovelace Day aims to honor the achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and encourage discussion of their work. In the spirit of this celebration, we’ve compiled a video portraying 25 pioneering women of science.
Who is Ada? She is widely regarded as the first computer programmer for her notes on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, which include a method now recognized as the earliest algorithm meant to be processed by a machine. Ada’s work was published in 1843 but her contributions to computer science were not discovered until the late 1950s. Much like Rosalind Franklin, she received acknowledgment for her efforts posthumously.
Today, though it is not uncommon to see female scientists working in industry laboratories, universities, and research facilities, there is still a reluctance to hire them over men. In a study conducted by Yale researchers, 127 scientists were asked to review the job applications of equally qualified male or female candidates for a lab manager position. The faculty—consisting of both men and women—were more willing to hire the male, ranked him higher in competency, and would offer him $4,000 more than the female candidate with identical experience. Young women who pursue the required Ph.D.s will also encounter more obstacles than their male peers, according to a recent study by Wellcome Trust.
Not only are men more likely to attain a job in science fields, but they are also more likely to receive prestigious awards in recognition of their research. Of the 357 Nobel Prizes awarded in science categories, only 16 of the recipients are women.
The Rosalind Franklin Society (RFS) is a group dedicated to celebrating the significant contributions of women in science in addition to empowering them to achieve work in industry, academia, and government. The organization also attracts attention to female scientists who it feels deserve Nobel nominations, but may have been overlooked. A few of the women profiled here are members of RFS and actively work to motivate and foster opportunities for women in the sciences.
Watch this video to learn more about the efforts of 25 inspiring women who have greatly contributed to scientific advancements. —Sunya Bhutta