Women in Science Week
Why do we have a NMS Women in Science Week?
Tuesday 9 October 2018 is Ada Lovelace Day. 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.
As we see in university STEM departments across the UK, women are underrepresented in our Faculty at both the student and staff level. There is something about the way women perceive or experience studying and working in STEM disciplines that means they are less likely than men to choose this as a career path. This is a problem because it limits the pool of talent we are drawing on and because good research needs diversity of ideas and perspectives
Women in Science week aims to celebrate the women in work in science both within the faculty, the college and beyond. It hopes to highlight the issues faced in STEM subjects surrounding the representation of women, and that gender equality is a relevant and important topic for all by bringing together both staff and students from across the faculty in a number of events.
What happened last year?
Women in Science Scholarship and Prize Winners Lunch
NMS @ the Movies
Each year the Faculty welcomes new students who have been awarded a Women in Science Scholarship by hosting a lunch. It is a time to celebrate achievements of women in the Faculty as female prize winners from the previous year are also invited.
An opportunity to meet members of the faculty, such as Heads of Departments, and those actively working on the Women in Science initiative, the lunch is a highlight of Women in Science week.
Ada Lovelace Day
NMS @ The Movies presented Hidden Figures, the 2016 biographical drama depicting the prejudice faced by female African-American mathematicians working at NASA during the Space Race. The film highlighted the remarkable achievements of Katherine Johnson, the mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury, the US's first human spaceflight programme, and other missions, NASA supervisor Dorothy Vaughan and NASA Engineer Mary Jackson.
Women in Science Week Reception
Speakers for Ada Lovelace Day 2016 included Angela Saini, leading journalist, science writer and broadcaster who spoke about her recent book Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong - and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story.
President of WiSTEM student society, Michaela Petit spoke about the societies experience and plans for the future and 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. Peter, Angela and Michaela were joined by Fares Alaboud, PhD Student from the Department of Informatics and Senior Lecturer Rivka Isaacsson of the Department of Chemistry.
Bringing Women in Science week to a close, the reception provided an interactive opportunity to reflect on the issues discussed over the course of the week.