Why Ada Lovelace Day shouldn’t just be about science

On the second Tuesday in October, we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day to commemorate the great mathematician and writer who massively influenced computing history. We often use Ada Lovelace Day to highlight the past and present achievements of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). But focusing solely on STEM means we miss the most important parts of Ada’s story.


Firstly, I’ll recap Ada’s background for context, though I’d also recommend reading either of these articles for more information.

Augusta Ada Gordon (Countess of Lovelace, after her marriage) was the daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron and Baroness Anne Milbanke. Lord Byron was well-known for his adventures and affairs, and was famously described as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. (Researchers believe that Byron probably experienced bipolar disorder). He left his family when Ada was four months old, then died when she was eight years old.

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A Sci-Comm Renaissance?

News from the last three weeks has been bad, to say the least. Both Britain and America have seemingly been bent on destruction and bridge-burning. Yet despite being anxious about just what will happen next, I’m also a little bit curious as well.

One of the few good parts about the previous three weeks is how people have often responded to protect and support others. Social networks have shared resources for contacting politicians, lawyers and advocates, and advice on how best to do so. Widespread protests and calls for mobilisation have made some meaningful changes, called attention to the wrongs which would have remained away from the spotlights, and delayed political decisions. People aren’t taking the changes as quietly as either Trump and co. or May and co. had wanted. And I hope this atmosphere of fighting back will continue, and lead to bigger changes.

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Science Communication on YouTube, Part #2

This post follow part 1, where I looked at the type of videos and channels appearing on YouTube searches for science communication. 

While there’s a lot of science content on YouTube, and relatively strong content communicating science, there isn’t much about science communication itself. There are videos for non-scientists about science, but not about scicomm. A Crash Course or RiskBites equivalent for science communication doesn’t exist.

The obvious question is; should that content exist? To me, the answer can only be yes.

One reason is my personal experience in discovering science communication. I didn’t find out that science communication existed until a few weeks before I graduated with my BSc, while I was already researching psychology-based Masters courses. The second I came across a description of UWE’s scicomm course, I knew it was the Masters I wanted to do, before I’d even read any more about what scicomm even was.

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Writing Science Update

This week I handed in my third piece of coursework- a group project to create a science-based magazine- which was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had with a uni assignment.

After bouncing facebook messages around the group, and continually uploading revisions and comments, we eventually got a final set of pages we were happy with. Off to print them out then- which was surprisingly difficult.

No printers open in UWE that night could print the A4 pages properly, so we eventually found the low-tech solution of printing each page as on A3 and guillotining them down to the right size. Which would have worked well if I had any hand-eye coordination.

Apart from the myriad of issues actually getting the thing printed, I’m really happy with how the magazine turned out. Seeing it come out on proper paper, and how well the photos and colours work, it looks even better than on my laptop screen. It looks really professional, which isn’t how I’d normally describe anything I made, so I like the contrast.

A first-day draft of the magazine.
Another first-day draft
Another first-day draft.
A first-day draft of a magazine page

Some ideas from the drafts made on the first day- mostly the teal, purple, and orange colour scheme, and the file-divider-style sidebars- stayed during the entire process.

However, while the first-day drafts were very sparse, the final layout contained many more ideas and tried out different styles to suit the article.

Mostly, it all looks varied, but still looks like it belongs to one coherent magazine. Ultimately, I’m really happy with it (despite the annoyance of finding a typo 5 minutes after hand-in) and I’m hoping we get a good mark for it.

Back To Uni!

After a year of saving up, I’m back at UWE for a Science Communication Msc.

So far it looks like an amazing opportunity, but also an incredibly scary one. The sheer amount of things I’m going to learn this year, and the amount of new experiences I’ll get to have, feels awesome. On the first teaching block, just being in a room with people who care about similar topics and ideas was enough to get me feeling more motivated.

On the other hand, I’m not confident in my ability to progress. I feel a bit overwhelmed by how challenging many of the assignments will be for me. Also, I feel like I rushed into the course; the other students are already older and have professional experience, while I only have my first degree and no evidence of what I can do.

So right now, I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing, or whether I’ll succeed. And not knowing isn’t something I’m good at.

Science Communication on Youtube: A Missed Opportunity?

While looking up different viewpoints for my last post on the definition of science communication, I noticed something unexpected.

I’m interested in science communication, and love to learn more about it.
I also spend a lot of time on YouTube, including on educational channels.
However, I’ve never used YouTube for finding out about scicomm specifically.

I didn’t know if it was just something I had overlooked, or if there was a reason for this. So I decided to investigate where YouTube stands on scicomm – whether its popular with science communicators, and whether science communication videos and channels are popular with YouTube users.


My first tactic was to go with the obvious; to search for “science communication” on YouTube and see what kind of channels and videos come up. As this is a likely approach for someone who has just heard the term “science communication” and wants to explore it, this seemed a sensible place to start.

I looked at the 5 most relevant channels and videos according to YouTube’s search algorithm, then the 5 highest viewed channels and videos.


The most successful section in my opinion was the 5 most relevant videos.

Two of the 5 were from the same channel- Did Someone Say Science?- a channel I’d never watched before but was really impressed by. Science Communication; It’s No Joke! explains why scicomm is important using famous historical science such as the discovery of penicillin as reference points. “Top 5 Science Communication Moments in Films” is interesting because of the film references and because its format promises an easy, entertaining watch.

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