York University celebrates Ada Lovelace Day with lecture and workshop

Ada Lovelace, English writer and mathematician (1815-52), daughter of Lord Byron and friend of Charles Babbage.

Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), took place this year on Oct. 9. Lovelace was a 19th-century English mathematician and writer who also happened to be the very first computer programmer. She wrote what were essentially computer programs for the analytical engine that computing pioneer Charles Babbage was designing, but never actually created. Her contributions were largely overlooked – an issue that continues to exist for women in many fields, especially science.

For the fourth year in a row, York University is joining the global celebration with the International Ada Lovelace Day Lecture. On Monday, Oct. 22, biology Professor Jeremy Kerr of the University of Ottawa will give a lecture titled “Waiting for Equity or Making it Happen: What’s the Difference?” from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. in 107 Life Sciences Building, Keele Campus. He will reflect on his experiences mobilizing STEM research to policy-makers and politicians, and connect his work on equity with his advocacy for citizen science and science literacy.

Jeremy Kerr

Jeremy Kerr

Kerr, who completed his doctorate in York University’s Department of Biology, is an active science communicator and the University of Ottawa’s University Research Chair in Macroecology and Conservation. He was president of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution from 2016-18, where he developed policy for increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM. His research, which is regularly published in high-impact journals, examines global patterns in species richness, including trends in populations of rare and endangered species.

The lecture will be followed by a workshop in which Kerr will share tips on how to talk about STEM to policy-makers and politicians. It will take place in 306 Lumbers Building from 2 to 3 p.m.

These events are part of York’s International Ada Lovelace Day 2018 celebrations. The Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, also part of the celebrations, took place on Oct. 11 in the Steacie Science and Engineering Library.

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