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EECS Flagship Seminars Series Launch - The women who changed the face of computer science in the UK

EECS Flagship Seminars Series Launch - The women who changed the face of computer science in the UK

EECS Flagship Seminar Series launch event on February 24 will be delivered by the trailblazer Professor Ursula Martin, a woman who changed the face of computer science in the UK

A new series of free public lectures on subjects of general interest in information engineering and science. National and international leaders in information technology discuss important issues relevant to everybody in the twenty-first century. Hosted by the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London, and generously sponsored by IBM.

Professor Ursula Martin CBE, works at the interface of mathematics and computer science,  applying abstract mathematical concepts to understand practical problems   in software design.

Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire(CBE) in January 2012 for services to Computer Science, she was the UK’s first female Professor of Computer Science at the age of 36, when she was appointed Professor in the University of London. In 1992, she moved to the University of St Andrews to become their first female Professor - in any faculty - since the foundation of the University in 1411.

From 2005-2009 she was Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering at Queen Mary University of London, and Director of the ImpactQM project (2009-2012), a major knowledge transfer initiative. Her numerous national and international roles include membership of the UK’s Defence Scientific Advisory Council, and driving forward national initiatives for women in computing through the British Computer Society. Professor Martin joined the University of Oxford as Professor of Computer Science in 2014.

The CBE - one of only 4 such awards ever to have been granted in UK academic computer science - came just months after Professor Martin was recognised as a woman of outstanding achievement at the UKRC’s Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards 2011 where she was announced runner-up in the Lifetime Achievement Award. This was followed in 2013 when Professor Martin was shortlisted for a WISE Lifetime Achievement Award again celebrating her as a woman who has had a truly outstanding career in science, engineering, and technology.

In 2015 she curated the bicentenary display of Lovelace’s papers at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The comprehensive archive of Lovelace’s papers displays Lovelace’s wide scientific interests in everything from geology to acoustics to chemistry to mesmerism to photography; her exchanges with leading scientists such as Faraday, Babbage and Somerville; her correspondence course in mathematics with De Morgan, a leading mathematician of the day and pioneer in logic and algebra; and her grasp of the potential of mathematics whether to model a “calculus of the nervous system” or as a uniting link between the material and symbolic worlds.

Professor Martin’s talk titled “The Scientific life of Ada Lovelace” will start to explore the life of Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), the world’s first computer programmer in history.  Lovelace’s first computer progamme was written in 1842, Professor Martin will discuss her background, her scientific idea and her contemporary legacy.



10 facts about the first computer programmer in history

Ada lovelace portrait

  1. The programming language “Ada”, which is the “official” programming language of the United States military, was named after Ada Lovelace; the military standard for the language, “MIL-STD-1815” was given the number of the year of her birth.
  2. She was the daughter of the great English poet Lord Byron
  3. Ada Lovelace’s image can be seen on the Microsoft product authenticity hologram stickers.
  4. During her time she was known as “The Enchantress of Numbers”
  5. Ada was one of the first minds to speculate about artificial intelligence.
  6. Her notes revealed that she foresaw the potential for computer-generated music.
  7. Ada’s mother who also possessed a fancy nickname the “Princess of Parallelograms” - taught her math and science at a very young age.
  8. Ada had a widely known fascination with magical beliefs.
  9. During her twenties, Lady Lovelace developed a serious gambling problem.
  10. It is a somber fact that, just like her father, Ada’s life ended at the young age of 36.

Event Information

Free Addmission but registration is necessary

When: Wednesday 24 February 2016 from 17:00 to 20:00 (GMT)

Where Senior Common Room, Queens’ Building - Queen Mary University of London. Mile End Rd. London, London E1 4NS GB

Crèche available, but booking essential by 15 February 2016

Event Registration

CATEGORY: Students Outreach

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