Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hidden Histories and Programmed Inequalities: two upcoming lectures

Two upcoming lectures may be of interest:


Monday 29 May at 4.30 pm
Hidden histories: the women who made computing in Oxford
Professor Ursula Martin
Mathematical Institute (Andrew Wiles Building), Woodstock Road, Oxford

In 2017 Oxford’s Department of Computer Science celebrates its 60th birthday. Some remarkable women shaped Oxford computing: Florence Nightingale campaigned for a chair in data-science; mathematician Dorothy Wrinch computed Bessel functions; Dorothy Hodgkin won the Nobel Prize for work on  insulin; Susan Hockey pioneered digital humanities; Linda Hayes, Shirley Lill and Joan Walsh got the software company NAG off the ground; and female operators and programmers were at the heart  of the early large-scale computing efforts powering 20th-century science.  As well as fascinating stories we ask the bigger question of whether talented women, at the margins of status and power in 20th-century Oxford, were more able than men to take the risk of working with these initially low-status new technologies?

Ursula Martin is a Professor of Computer Science at Oxford, and leads  research on Ada Lovelace’s mathematics

[The lecture is free and open to all; booking not required]


Thursday  1 June at 5.15 pm
Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing
Marie Hicks
Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, OX1 3JS

Marie Hicks is a historian of technology, gender, and modern Europe. She researches how gender and sexuality change what we think we know about technological progress and the global “computer revolution.” Her new book is Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge In Computing published by MIT Press in January 2017. It investigates why the proportion of women declined as electronic computing matured, and how this labor situation had grave effects on the technological aspirations of that waning superpower. It shows what lessons this holds for other nations, especially the United States.

See OII event page:
Eventbrite registration: