It’s Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates the achievement of women in science and technology. It seems appropriate to include a post about it here on The Girly Comic site.
For a comics link check out the Lovelace & Babbage comics by Sydney Padua, who also drew the Ada Lovelace Day T-shirt design on the left.
One of the aims of Ada Lovelace Day is to encourage people to blog about heroines of science and technology. My personal heroine would be Rosalind Franklin, who I’ll say a little bit more about in a moment.
Outside of the world of comics I’m a University Science Librarian, and I currently liaise with the Departments of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics. Over the ten years I’ve been a science librarian I’ve been pleased to note a rise in the number of women taking science courses at University. All of my Departments have female members of academic staff, which includes two Professors of Engineering.
So why is Rosalind Franklin my personal heroine? I was doing A’Level Biology when I first saw the film version of The Double Helix. This tells the story of the discovery of the structure of DNA, and is based on the memoir by James D. Watson. Most people tend to know that Crick and Watson discovered DNA, but very few know about the other people involved in that research, such as Wilkins, Franklin and Gosling. When I saw The Double Helix I was immediately intrigued by Rosalind Franklin, as she was the only female researcher featured.
Much of Crick & Watson’s work was based on Franklin’s data from her X-ray diffraction images of DNA, and it was only in later years that her contribution was acknowledged. She also went on to work on other projects, such as investigating the structure of Tobacco Mosaic Virus, and died at the early age of 37 from cancer.
It was this interest in DNA, and the inspiring lessons I received from my female A’Level Biology teachers, that led me to do a Degree in Genetics. Sadly, during my degree, I found out I was rather too allergic to many laboratory chemicals to pursue a career in research, but I enjoy being a science librarian instead.
I hope you can all think of inspiring women in science and technology that you know too!