Ada Lovelace Day: My Middle-School Maths Teacher [en]

[fr] Cette année, la femme que je voudrais mettre en avant pour Ada Lovelace Day, c'est simplement ma prof de maths de 8-9e, Mme Niklès (en espérant que j'écris son nom juste -- je ne me souviens plus de son prénom). A l'époque, j'aimais les maths, et j'avais décidé d'aller faire le gymnase en section X ("maths spé" comme on disait). Peut-être que le fait d'avoir une femme comme prof de maths a contribué à m'encourager à investir cet intérêt. Qui sait?

I’ve been wondering who to write about for today’s Ada Lovelace Day. Trying to think back to women who’ve influenced me as far as my interest in science and tech goes, there aren’t that many. I’ve had role-models, of course, and female role-models, but not so much in that department.

One person who does stand out a bit, though, is my maths teacher in 8th or 9th grade. I wouldn’t exactly call her a role-model, but she was my maths teacher, and she was a woman. I’d always liked maths, but it was around that time that I decided that I was good at it (it’s when we started algebra) and was going to go for the special maths class in high school (well, it’s called “Gymnase” here and the name of the class was “section X”, but that’s only of interest to locals who understand what it means).

Anyway, though she was maybe not the teacher I liked the most, or looked up to particularly, she was a perfectly good teacher. And looking back, I wonder what role having a female maths teacher at that stage of my life played for me — maybe without me realizing it. It’s an implicit way of sending the message “hey, girls do maths too”. We were an all-girl class, by the way, so there wasn’t much “boys vs. girls” competition around more traditionally “boyish” topics.

So, here’s to Mme Niklès (I hope I’m spelling her name right), who quite probably played a role in encouraging me to be a geeky maths-y sciency girl, simply by being a maths teacher who also happened to be a woman.

It's Ada Lovelace Day Today — Participate! [en]

In 2009 and 2010 Ada Lovelace Day took place on March 24th. Not, as many thought, Ada’s birthday, but a random date that just happened to be that one. This year (and the next ones!) Ada Lovelace Day is taking place on October 7th, today, that is.

In 2009 I wrote about Marie Curie, and in 2010 about my friend Suw Charman (both articles are in French). I also seized the occasion to write about women travelers on the ebookers travel blog: Ella Maillart and Sarah Marquis. I’m very honoured that a few people chose to feature me in their Ada Lovelace Day blog posts (our sadly departed Jean-Christophe amongst them).

Ada Lovelace Day is about showcasing women in science and tech (STEM). Girls need same-sex role models more than boys do, and ALD is about making them visible.

Who are you going to write about today? I’m personally not sure who I’m going to write about yet. I know a pile of great women doing great stuff in social media, and it’s hard to choose between them, but I’d like to find somebody to talk about outside my direct industry.

You’ll have the answer as I write my post later on!