Ada Lovelace Day 2018 at Edinburgh Napier University #ALD18

Ada Lovelace Day logoEach year on the second Tuesday of October we mark Ada Lovelace Day at Edinburgh Napier University as part of the worldwide celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. The purpose of this activity is to showcase role models who will encourage more girls into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and to support women who are already working in STEM.

It is interesting that Ada Lovelace Day this year falls within a fortnight of (since suspended) Cern scientist Professor Alessandro Strumia’s delivery of an offensive workshop presentation about the role of women in physics, in which he claimed that the domain was “invented and built by men” (Hypatia anyone?) and is “becoming sexist against men” (so what about the widely held views on unconscious bias against women in science?) This news was then followed by the announcement that the 2018 Nobel prize for physics is to be shared by three scientists, one of whom is a woman, Canadian Dr Donna Strickland. Then this Sunday the BBC introduced the first ever regeneration of Dr Who as a woman, much to the joy of those who believed that this was long overdue (myself included).

At our celebration on campus today we can’t promise news that grabs the headlines in the same way as the three stories cited above. However, this afternoon from 5pm onwards at our Craiglockhart campus we’re hosting a Tech Fun session. Girls of secondary school age have been invited to sign up to have a go at making an Engima code breaker, create a network using their mobile phones, program wearable computers, and control robots (as well as play arcade games, and eat pizza and ice cream). Afterwards, Sharon Moore MBE, Industry Technical Leader for Travel and Transportation IBM UK, and an excellent role model for women in STEM, is delivering the University’s annual Ada Lovelace Day lecture. Sharon will be joined on stage with Equate Scotland’s Allison Johnstone, who will outline some of the initiatives underway to make a difference for women in STEM. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

We look forward to a day of celebration that will be just as successful as those we hosted at Napier on Ada Lovelace Day in 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Ada Lovelace Day events Napier 2018

Fifty years of pulsars with Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

royal society of edinburgh logoYesterday afternoon I visited the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) – of which I am a Fellow – to attend its 2017 Annual Statutory Meeting. Immediately afterwards the RSE opened its doors to members of the public who had booked places to hear a Presidential Address delivered by RSE President Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Continue reading

Forging a path into computing: perspectives of a PhD student on women in computing

Marwa Salayma, who is one of the PhD students in the School of Computing, recently recorded an interview about her journey from Palestine to doctoral studies at Edinburgh Napier University.

Continue reading

Invitation to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2017 at Edinburgh Napier University #ALD17

Ada Lovelace Day Polly Purvis bannerTuesday 10th October is Ada Lovelace Day. Following the success of previous years (2016, 2015), Edinburgh Napier University’s Athena SWAN team, the School of Computing, and EQUATE Scotland are marking this worldwide celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by hosting free workshops and a public lecture on campus on October 10th 2017. Continue reading

Athena SWAN departmental bronze awards for Edinburgh Napier University #athenaswan

Congratulations to Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing (SoC) and the School of Engineering and the Built Environment (SEBE), both awarded bronze awards at yesterday’s Athena SWAN awards ceremony at Imperial College, London.

Athena SWAN awards ceremony July 2017

Athena SWAN awards ceremony July 2017

Athena SWAN is the Equality Challenge Unit’s charter for gender equality in higher education and research institutes. As part of its work, the Equality Challenge Unit grants bronze, silver and gold Athena SWAN awards to recognise work undertaken to address the barriers that may impede the career progression of both students and staff in such organisations. Continue reading

Inclusivity in the delivery of teaching: from agendas to actions #TFConf17


The theme of Edinburgh Napier University’s 2017 Teaching Fellows Conference, (#TFConf17) is innovations in teaching and supporting student learning. I am participating in the event today as the opening keynote speaker.  My presentation slides entitled Inclusivity in the delivery of teaching: from agendas to actions are available on SlideShare and below. Continue reading