Ada Lovelace Day

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 01:04 pm
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
As usual, I have been vacillating about what to post for this year's Ada day. I toyed with the idea of posting about the frankly awesome and criminally underrated Pat Moss, because being a racing driver is TOTALLY a STEM career, right? And then I thought maybe I should give signal boost to the excellent Little Miss Geek project. But then I thought about what Ada day is for. Ada day is meant to highlight women in STEM careers who should be an inspiration to the kids of today. And I thought about the people who inspired me when I was a nipper. Aside from my dad, they were mostly people on telly - in terms of science this was Patrick Moore, yes, and David Attenborough, and Terry Nutkins... But also Judith Hann and Maggie Philbin. There were mainstream women on the telly doing science when I was a kid.

There's less of them these days, mainly because science telly has been marginalised in the same way that music telly has - ghettoised into seperate channels and post watershed. But there is a lady who occasionally pops up who I think is amazing, so I'm going to blog about her.

(Image from The Indy)

This is Doctor Maggie Aderin-Pocock. You may recognise her from a number of appearances on the telly. I know her best from James May's Things You Need To Know About... where she appears on a regular basis as a talking head. She's currently a space scientist, but her degrees include physics and mechanical engineering, so she's really useful as a talking head on pop science programmes because of her breadth of knowledge.

Maggie is a fantastic communicator, explaining sometimes quite complex scientific concepts in a friendly and accessible way, but I think the thing I love best about her is a her enthusiasm. She's such a geek! She loves her subject, and communicates that love and joy and enthusiasm in the same way that someone like David Attenborough does, and it's infectious.

I'd love to see her get a primetime science slot. She's smarter and sexier than Brian Cox, and less curmudgeonly and a better communicator than Patrick Moore. And, unlike many of the women discussed for Ada Day, she's here, and available now, and not dead and too late to do much about thanking. So, thank you, Maggie, for all you've done so far; and here's hoping you get to do lots more in the future.

For more about Maggie, check out her profile on the Eden Channel, at The Royal Institution, and her programme on Desert Island Discs.

Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (PitWheelWoodhorn)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
Small claim to non-fame; my grandfather spent part of his childhood in Pittington, where Ada's mother was born.

Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
Yay Dr Maggie :-) Also amazing for occasionally delivering a lecture with child in tow. Almost as though having a baby didn't eat your brains and make you unsuitable.

Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
bagfish: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagfish

Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
bagfish: Really, you can't pass (Gandalf)
From: [personal profile] bagfish
OK, I feel like a bad feminist as I've never come across this lady before. She sounds like a complete inspiration, thanks for making her your Ada day hero.

Here's hoping that she will appear on Radio 4's "The Life Scientific" as cos I don't watch TV, I seem to have missed out.

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