Pupils celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2018

Today year 7 pupils celebrated women in STEM for Ada Lovelace Day 2018. Lovelace is the founder of computing theory – a quite remarkable woman whose mathematical theories laid the basis for all modern computers.

In Maths the girls discussed the following women’s contributions and compared how the achievements might have been lauded had they been achieved by men at the time:

  • Katherine Johnson: led the NASA computing team that worked out the trajectory calculations for the first NASA space flights (as show in the film Hidden Figures)
  • Hedy Lamarr: a Hollywood actress and inventor who holds the patent for “frequency-hopping spread spectrum for use in torpedo guidance systems.” We know that now as… WiFi
  • Florence Nightingale: a superb nurse… but an even better statistician. Her statistical presentations to the British military completely changed the ways that injured soldiers were cared for, and radically changed survival rates. She was elected as the first female Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

The group discovered that ‘computers’ used to refer to a pool of female mathematicians who would test complex equations for viability, long before a machine was invented to do so. We also found out that Darcey in year 7 is the great, great, great, great niece of Florence Nightingale! An afternoon of discoveries for all.