5 Incredible Women Who Shaped Technology As We Know It Today

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Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace

Ada Byron, otherwise known as Lady Lovelace had a life worthy of a great novel. Born on 10th December 1815, she was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron, who was briefly married to her mother. Ada was pushed into theoretical work by her mother, who feared she would develop the ‘madness’ of her father.

Ada excelled as a mathematician and writer, particularly in her work alongside Charles Babbage, dubbed the father of computers. Babbage developed the early mechanical general-purpose computer – known as the Analytical Engine.

Ada, gifted with a creative brain, described herself as having a poetical scientific mindset. This allowed her to think outside the usual realms of problem solving, and saw the analytical machine in a more abstract way…developing what is considered the first algorithm.

[The Analytical Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine…

Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent. ~ Ada Byron

Her ideas, although not initially recognised, helped to pave the way towards the computers of today. She realised that they could be used for far more than number crunching – and is now considered the first computer programmer.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff

Lydia Villa-Komaroff
Lydia Villa-Komaroff

Lydia is a Mexican American cellular biologist with an incredible mind. She was part of a team who discovered how bacteria could be used to create human mammalian insulin in 1978.

Her scientific career has been truly remarkable and she now specialises in teaching and inspiring young scientists.

 “When you get your degree, it’s not a degree of limitation. As scientists, we identify problems and we figure out a way to solve them. A scientist fits in just about anywhere. We could use some more [scientists] in Congress and the Senate right now!” ~ Villa-Komaroff

Rosalind Franklin

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