[Female-math-faculty] You're invited to the WICS Seminar on Ada, Countess of Lovelace (Tuesday January 10)

Kristine McGlynn kmcglynn at uwaterloo.ca
Thu Jan 5 12:57:21 EST 2017

Please join us for the first WICS/WIM event of the year!  Prof. Ursula Martin from Oxford University is visiting Waterloo next week and, as part of her visit, she will be giving a talk on her work investigating the papers of Ada, Countess of Lovelace. (Did you know that the first programmer was a woman? Did you know that she was a visionary when it comes to the capabilities and limitations of computers?)

We hope you will join us, and stay for refreshments!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
MC 5501

Speaker: Prof. Ursula Martin
                        Department of Computer Scientist / Mathematics Institute
                        Oxford University

The Scientific Life of Ada Lovelace

Abstract: Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) is best known for a remarkable article about Babbage's unbuilt computer, the Analytical Engine. This not only presented the first documented computer program, but also, going well beyond Babbage's ideas of computers as manipulating numbers, outlined their creative possibilities and the limits of what they could do. Lovelace's contribution was highlighted  in one of Alan Turing's most famous papers "Can a machine think?".

The comprehensive  archive of Lovelace's papers preserved in Oxford's Bodleian Library  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.

 In this talk we start to explore Lovelace, her background, her scientific ideas and her contemporary legacy.

Bio:  Ursula Martin joined the University of Oxford as Professor of Computer Science in 2014. She holds an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship. Prior to this she held a chair of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London.
At Queen Mary she was Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering (2005-2009), and Director of the impactQM project (2009-2012). She served on the U K Defence Science Advisory Council, on the 2001 and 2008  UK HEFCE RAE panel for Computer Science, and was a SICSA distinguished visitor at the University of Edinburgh for 2012-13. She has previously held appointments at the University of St Andrews (the first female professor in any discipline since its foundation in 1411), Royal Holloway University of London, Manchester and Urbana Champaign. She holds an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge and a PhD in Mathematics from Warwick. She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in January 2012. She is involved in many activities for women in science, and currently serves on the Royal Society's Diversity Committee.
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