Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ada Lovelace Day 2013

Today is Ada Lovelace Day - a day for celebrating the achievements of women in science, tech, engineering, and math.

This year I thought I'd write about my favorite Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.  You might be thinking, an author?  What does she have to do with STEM?  Well, here's a few of her science and engineering-related accomplishments:
  • She invented the Long Pen, a remote signing device used by authors to do carbon-neutral book signings
  • She's written a fascinating science fiction (I'm deliberately calling it that, sorry Margaret) trilogy that deals with the implications of genetic engineering: Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood (my copy is signed using the Long Pen), and Maddaddam
  • She is an environmental advocate, often using her fame to educate about the plight of endangered bird species
As technologists' training and careers become more and more focused and specialized, we tend to forget that women in STEM often come at their fields sidewise.  I can relate to this as I came to Software Engineering only after completing a Bachelor's degree in a different field - Physics.  I think the voices and perspectives of people who have experience outside CS, for example, are incredibly important, both for developing new approaches and in understanding our end-users.  And for that reason, although she wouldn't be called a scientist exactly, I want to include Margaret Atwood in this year's Ada Lovelace Day as someone who gets us thinking about science and its implications.

1 comment:

Slytherpuff said...

I absolutely, positively ADORE Margaret Atwood.

I just finished the MaddAddam trilogy and I felt like I lost a friend when I listened to the last audiobook.

Atwood is brilliant in so many ways.