Above is the ninth video in GitHub’s series celebrating female role models in the tech community called Passion Projects. readwrite has the story on how this lecture series started and why it’s an important development in the tech world.
Silicon Valley certainly talks a lot about the dearth of women in technology, but relatively few companies seem to do much about it. Here’s one surprising exception: GitHub, the open-source collaboration site for software developers.
GitHub’s atypical experience with diversity owes a fair deal to an unlikely source—a humble lecture series called “Passion Projects” that features female technologists talking about the work that energizes them. As it turns out, by giving women in technology the spotlight, GitHub has also apparently demonstrated that it’s a great place for women to work.
CEO Tom Preston-Werner said that Passion Projects has had a real effect on recruiting. Over the last six months, a quarter of GitHub’s most recent 60 hires have been women, he said. Some hires wouldn’t have happened without Passion Projects. For example, the company hired Rubyist Rachel Myers shortly after her own Passion Projects talk.
It’s not just about the lectures themselves. Passion Projects is about showing the world that GitHub has made hiring women in technology a priority in a very public way. And women have noticed.
craigconnects has a great piece on women run startups. Here, we have grabbed a few to highlight but everyone should check out the full article.
Folks, there are a lot of really good businesses out there, and my team and I want to highlight 10 women run startups that you should really know about. These startups are doing great work and really getting the jobs done in their arenas. We took a little bit from each org’s website to capture what they’re doing in their own words. Make sure to visit their sites, support ‘em, and follow ‘em on Twitter. These women are really changing the world.
CyPhy Works: Helen Grenier, CEO (Pictured above in Adafruit’s coloring book)
CyPhy Works research starts with people -They look to the places where people need empowering technology to reach beyond what they currently can. Then they turn their attention to scouring the market landscape and literature to see what, if any, un-utilized research can be leveraged to enable the people in need. Once they fully understand what people need, and what people have done to address that need, they focus their attention in their labs where their people develop transformational technologies that make it possible for people in need to achieve their goals more efficiently and more effectively than the status quo would allow.
LightSail aims to produce the world’s cleanest and most economical energy storage systems. Compressing air creates heat energy. Until now, this was wasted, drastically reducing efficiency.LightSail isdeveloping breakthrough, high efficiency energy storage systems using compressed air. Our key insight: rapidly capturing the heat of compression with a water spray.
Globally, more than 1.2 billion people live outside the reach of an electricity grid. Consumers in this off-grid world spend hundreds of dollars each year to light their homes and power small electronics, and they do so using expensive sources of energy such as kerosene lanterns and disposable batteries. Modern options such as photovoltaic solar cost far less when amortized over time, but the comparatively high upfront price of these energy alternatives has kept them out of this enormous market.The Angaza Pay-As-You-Go platform enables distributors and manufacturers of energy products to offer pricing that reaches 1.2 billion consumers in the off-grid world.
Pictured here are just 3 of the 10 women highlighted in this moving tribute from scientific american. These women are truly inspirational and deserve to be remembered.
Pioneering scientists and engineers are often overlooked in popular retrospectives commemorating the year’s departed. In particular, women in such fields tend to be given short shrift. To counter this regrettable circumstance, I present here a selection of 10 notable women in science who left us in 2013. Each of these individuals contributed greatly to her field and should be remembered for her exceptional accomplishments.
A dual expert in physics and psychology, Eleanor Adair was a trailblazing American researcher in the field of microwave radiation safety. She carried out numerous controlled studies in which she exposed monkeys and human volunteers—including herself—with microwave radiation. Her conclusions were always the same: environmental microwaves such as those emitted by cell phones, microwave ovens, and power lines have no adverse effects on health. Adair’s work ultimately helped set international standards for microwave exposure. She died on April 20 at age 86.
Austrian-born British immunologist Brigitte “Ita” Askonas contributed many influential works on the nature of the human immune system. She is best known for her groundbreaking studies elucidating the behavior of antibody-producing B cells and determining the role of T lymphocytes in viral infections. Askonas served for 12 years as head of the Division of Immunology at the National Institute for Medical Research in London and was both a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Askonas was 89 when she died on Jan. 9, 2013.
Holder of 55 patents and a 2008 inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Ruth R. Benerito was an American chemist best known for her invention of “easy-care” permanent press cotton, a staple of modern fabrics. Her work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Orleans focused on chemically bonding cotton fibers in a way that would prevent wrinkling. Today, many think of her inventions as having saved the cotton industry. Benerito passed away at age 97 on Oct. 5, 2013.
It’s a well documented fact that we here at Adafruit love everything Ada Lovelace and everything LEGO. The two coming together is a treat for sure! Flickr user Andrew Becraft posted this awesome LEGO figurine and we were very excited to share it.
Ada Lovelace was born Ada Byron in 1815. Though she never met him, Ada was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron.
In 1833 (when she was only 17), Ada met Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Difference Engine. They became lifelong friends, and later, scientific collaborators.
In 1835, Ada married William King, who subsequently inherited a noble title, whereupon Ada became “Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace.”
Babbage enlisted the Countess’s help in translating the memoir of an Italian mathematician, and in the process Ada produced copious notes of Babbage’s Difference Engine. It is for these documents, simply titled “Notes,” that she remains famous today (although probably less so than she deserves). Although she is credited as the “founder of scientific computing,” I would also argue that Ada was the first technical writer.
Jamie C. Moore is a photographer that created some really inspirational messages through photographing her daughter dressed as strong women.
So my amazing daughter, Emma, turned 5 last month, and I had been searching everywhere for new-creative inspiration for her 5yr pictures. I noticed quite a pattern of so many young girls dressing up as beautiful Disney Princesses, no matter where I looked 95% of the “ideas” were the “How to’s” of how to dress your little girl like a Disney Princess. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Disney Princesses, from their beautiful dresses, perfect hair, gorgeous voices and most with ideal love stories in the mix you can’t help but become entranced with the characters. But it got me thinking, they’re just characters, a writers tale of a princess (most before 1998)…an unrealistic fantasy for most girls (Yay Kate Middleton!).
It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything. We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world… so let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.
The idea that the 1840s saw the birth of computer science as we know it today may seem like a preposterous one, but long before the Bombe, the Colossus or the Harvard Mark I, long before any computer was actually built, came a remarkable woman whose understanding of computing remained unparalleled and unappreciated for 100 years. Brought up in an era when women were routinely denied education, she saw further into the future than any of her male counterparts, and her work influenced the thinking of one of World War II’s greatest minds.
Lovelace’s ideas found their way into modern computing via Alan Turing. During WWII, as he was working at Bletchley Park on decoding German communications, Turing discovered Lovelace’s Menabrea translation and its attendant notes. They were critical documents that helped to shape his thinking.
Indeed, in his seminal paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence Turing explored the question “Can machines think?”, promptly launching the field of artificial intelligence. He also listed “contrary views” on his position that machines could at least imitate thinking, and discusses what he calls Lady Lovelace’s Objection.
Lovelace had written, “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform”, which might be taken to mean that her position was that machines could not learn, or create anything original. However, Turing points out that “the evidence available to Lady Lovelace did not encourage her to believe” that machines could be so capable.
Were Ada alive today, I think she would recognise the problems faced by her female peers. But she’d also recognise our modern computing machines as the very embodiment of her ideas, and she’d immediately set about learning how they worked and how to program them. She didn’t let the conventions of her day slow her down, and she certainly wouldn’t let modern prejudices get in the way either.
Grace Hopper is one of Adafruit’s favorite people of all time and today we celebrate what would have been her 107th birthday. Google has honored Grace as well with their homepage image. Here’s some information from her wikipedia page for those who don’t know about all of her amazing accomplishments.
Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer). Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
David Huerta has been sharing this past year about Brooklyn Museum’s exploration of 3D printing, with a focus on accessibility and new ways to share the collection with the Brooklyn Museum community. Here is one of their projects from early this month: How about a nice game of 3D printed chess?
Earlier this year, we started exploring how 3D printing could enhance the visitor experience and began by introducing it on that month’s sensory tour. In addition to tours, we also host film screenings and as my colleague Elisabeth mentioned, this Saturday, September 28th we’ll be hosting a special screening of Brooklyn Castle, a film about a local school with a talented chess team that crushed more chess championships than any other school in the US. Since the screening also includes some chess playing outside the film, we figured it would be great to tie that into the context of the museum’s collection by curating and scanning our own 3D printed chess set….
Unsung hero Delia Derbyshire was the woman behind the original Dr. Who theme song at the BBC’s Radiophonic studio. She was one of the first electronic musicians and her music was highly influential on the genre. Listening to her work now, it’s hard to believe it came out in the 1960′s.
Delia believed that the way the ear / brain perceives sound should have dominance over any basic mathematical theory, but as with most things in life it is important to know the rules in order to advantageously bend or break them.
Delia’s works from the 60s and 70s continue to be used on radio and TV some 30 years later, and her music has given her legendary status with releases in Sweden and Japan. She is also constantly mentioned, credited and covered by bands from Add n to (x) and Sonic Boom to Aphex Twin and The Chemical Brothers.
A recent Guardian article called her ‘the unsung heroine of British electronic music’, probably because of the way her infectious enthusiasm subtly cross-pollinated the minds of many creative people. She had exploratory encounters with Paul McCartney, Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Brian Jones, Anthony Newley, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson.
Check out the video below for one of my favorite Delia Derbyshire songs and read more about her incredible work here.
This week, a toy company called Goldieblox ignited a chatterstorm with a video of three girls playing with a Rube Goldberg-type contraption and singing alternative lyrics to the Beastie Boys song “Girls.” Since the video went up on Monday, it has been viewed more than seven million times and fueled discussion about how to get young girls interested in pursuing scientific careers.
But apparently not everyone is thrilled with the viral video.
According to a lawsuit filed on Thursday by Goldieblox, “the Beastie Boys have now threatened GoldieBlox with copyright infringement. Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a ‘big problem’ that has a ‘very significant impact.’ ”
I didn’t plan to start a company, I just became obsessed with solving a problem: “how do you make electronics modular, scalable and creative?” littleBits is an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.
We want people to create their own prototypes, installations or just learn about electronics without any wiring, programming or soldering. Since littleBits was founded two years ago, we’ve created 40+ modules, sold product in over 60 countries, grown our Manhattan-based company to 32 people and raised over $4.5m in funding. My favorite project was the 4 foot interactive installations we created for the MoMA Design Store. And my favorite moment ever was (last week!) when I was standing in a concert at Le Poisson Rouge, listening to Reggie Watts and Nullsleep perform with a synth kit that we made with the incredible KORG! Check out the video here.
For more info, see my TED talk and bio, for more info.
We want to put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone, and help everyone become an inventor. Feel free to AMA!
The Finding Ada site has an excerpt up from their women in STEM anthology called A Passion For Science: Tales of Discovery and Invention, which is available here. This excerpt, contributed to the book by Sue Nelson, is about Williamina Fleming who identified and catalogued thousands of stars as well as the Horsehead Nebula which was not “discovered” until years after her death. Her story is truly incredible and inspiring- a must read for anyone interested in astronomy.
Within thirty years of what can only be described as an inauspicious start, Fleming had catalogued over 10,000 stars and had discovered 310 variable stars, 10 novae, 52 nebulae and the hot dense stars known as white dwarfs. Long after her death, when the Hubble Space Telescope unveiled the stunningly beautiful Horsehead Nebula in unprecedented detail, history had already noted that it was Williamina Fleming who had first identified the nebula’s unusual shape.
…She established the first photographic standards of magnitude — an important tool for astronomers — that were then used to measure the brightness of variable stars, whose light fluctuated. She also developed a new Pickering-Fleming system to classify stars by their spectra alphabetically, A, B, C and so on, according to the strength of the star’s hydrogen spectral line.
By 1907 Fleming had been appointed an honorary fellow in astronomy at Jump Cannon’s alma mater and was the first American woman to be elected an honorary member of London’s Royal Astronomical Society. In 1910, Fleming published her discovery of stars that have almost exhausted their nuclear fuel. These small stars have expelled their outer layers, creating a planetary nebula and leaving an extremely dense hot core. They were called white dwarfs because the first few discovered were white.
Below is the Hubble Space Telescope’s picture of the Horsehead Nebula. Read More.
Robohub has an extensive list of women in robotics and it is an inspiring read to say the least. The list features incredible women such as Missy Cummings who was one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots and Leila Takayama, a senior researcher at Google X.
From Hypatia to Grace Hopper, there have been amazing women who have fought against massive prejudice to carve themselves out a name in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology. These comparatively few women however can easily be lost from the pages of history and to create a more equal ongoing presence of women in technology, we need to show strong female role models.
Professionally, the women on our list are all field leaders with a huge impact on robotics, regardless of their gender. So if you need women for your board of directors, or conference panel etc. then you may need to look deeper, because these women are already super busy. But while there are an increasing number of women in robotics, there is nothing like equal representation so – here are 25 reasons why that should change.