Part of its Women in Science Week, the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences (NMS) holds an event in October each year to coincide with the annual Ada Lovelace Day, which is internationally celebrated. Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer who has been adopted as a figurehead for an international celebration of the achievements of women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She is often referred to as the first computer programmer for her work on Babbage's Analytical Engine.
NMS's Ada Lovelace Day is the flagship event of Women in Science Week and consists of inspirational talks from a wide variety of speakers. It aims to address the problem of there being too few women in STEM subjects. Despite evidence that girls do well in such subjects at school, few go on to study them at university and even fewer pursue a career in such subjects.
The Faculty's first Ada Lovelace Day was aimed at promoting strong female role models working in STEM. The audience were given an introduction to the work being done to address the under representation of women in our departments by the Executive Dean of the Faculty.
The event featured inspirational talks from Roma Agrawal, Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, and Dr Amanda Coles from the Department of Informatics, a panel discussion and poster presentations.
Watch the 2014 videos
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist and presenter of The Sky at Night, took part in in our event in 2015. Dr Aderin Pocock talked about her inspirations and the importance of having relatable role models for young women.
Dr Sarah Barry of the Department of Chemistry and Professor Paul Walton from the University of York followed. Dr Barry talked of her journey into science while Professor Walton spoke about the issues faced by women in science and the resistant attitudes he has faced when raising awareness with others.
Watch the 2015 videos
Our keynote speaker was Kate Russell, a journalist, reporter and author who speaks regularly to inspire the next generation of technologists. She was voted Computer Weekly's 13th most influential woman in UK IT in 2016.
Dr Helen Coulshed from the Department of Chemistry spoke about her experiences throughout her time in higher education, and how she worked to combat a culture of gender inequality. We were also joined by the President of the WiSTEM student society, Fatima Vayani, who explained who WiSTEM are, their mission and activities, and how they were inspired by last year’s Ada Lovelace Day to form their own society.
Professor Peter Main, Head of Department of Physics and Chair of the Faculty Equality & Diversity committee, led a panel discussion on the importance of gender equality in STEM and how we can strive to achieve it.
Watch the 2016 videos
In 2017, Ada Lovelace Day welcomed journalist, science writer and broadcaster Angela Saini, who spoke about her recent book Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong - and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story. Angela explained how centuries of flawed science has led to an inaccurate and damaging picture of women, creating societal perceptions which still need to be fought against today.
President of WiSTEM Michaela Petit gave an overview of the work WiSTEM do, and was joined by Department of Informatics PhD student Fares Alaboud and Senior Lecturer in Chemical Biology Rivka Isaacson to debate how we can strive to achieve gender equality in higher education, led by Peter Main, chair of the Faculty Equality & Diversity Committee.
Watch the 2017 videos
In 2018, the day's lead speaker was Professor Barbara Shollock, who was soon to join the Faculty as the inaugural Head of the Department of Engineering. Joining Professor Shollock was Alex Prestage, King’s Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, speaking about alertness and capability in gender equality, while Professor Peter Main, Head of Department of Physics and Chair of the Faculty Equality & Diversity committee, led a panel discussion on the importance of gender equality in STEM and how we can strive to achieve it.
Watch the 2018 videos
The faculty celebrated Ada Lovelace Day 2019 with invited guests Professor Marika Taylor, Professor of Theoretical Physics and Head of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton, and Vinita Marwaha Madill, Space Operations Engineer, Founder of Rocket Women and King's alumna.
Marika spoke of factors of unconscious bias that often isolate women within academic culture, and Vinita was joined by Physics PhD student Emilie Steinmark in discussion of the importance of having visible role models for minority groups within STEM.
A panel discussion facilitated by Professor Peter Main, Head of the Department of Physics and Chair of the Faculty Equality & Diversity committee, led to further exploration of the issues faced by women in STEM subjects.
Watch the 2019 videos