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Warwick researcher one of first women to receive Suffrage Science award in maths and computing on Ada Lovelace Day 2016

HuttonOn Tuesday 11 October 2016 at Bletchley Park, Professor Jane Hutton from the University of Warwick’s Department of Statistics, will become be one of the first women to receive a new Suffrage Science in maths and computing award. The awards, being made on Ada Lovelace Day, launch a new initiative to celebrate women. As a new branch of the existing Suffrage Science scheme, it will encourage women into science, and to reach senior leadership roles.

Professor Jane Hutton said:

“I am honoured to received this award, and grateful for all the opportunities the University of Warwick has provided for teaching and research. Warwick Statistics is a friendly, flexible department, which has enabled me to spend time visiting schools and teaching in Africa. I'll keep telling people how fun and useful statistics can be.”

“What I like about statistics is that you can enjoy the formality and beauty of mathematics but you can also actually work with others and solve practical problems.”

“I am keen to carry on talking at schools elsewhere saying ‘This is what I do, I think it’s very interesting and you might enjoy it as well.’”

Women make up no more than four in ten undergraduates studying maths (London Mathematical Society[1]), and fewer than two in ten of those studying computer science (WISE report, 2014[2]). Despite much effort, there has been little sign of improvement. In fact, the number of women studying computer science at the undergraduate level has been in decline since the 1980s. The more senior the research position, the fewer women there are.

Suffrage Science aims to make a difference. The MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC) at Imperial College London formed the scheme five years ago. There are currently two sections, one for women in the Life Sciences, and one for those in Engineering and the Physical Sciences. This event launches a third specialism, for women Maths and Computing. At the launch, 12 women will receive awards to celebrate their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others.

Hutton2

Guest speaker Dr Sue Black, who is an advocate for women in computing and pioneer of the “Saving Bletchley Park” campaign, will talk about how she overcame prejudice to ‘make it’ in a male-dominated world.

The awards themselves are pieces of jewellery, designed by students at the arts college Central Saint Martins-UAL, and inspired by science. One is a golden brooch punctured with holes that encode a secrete message, reminiscent of the punctured tape once used to store computer data. The second, a silver bangle, also holds a secret. Engraved on the inside, and hidden beneath a layer of silver, is what many mathematicians consider the most beautiful equation in mathematics, Euler’s equation.

After two years, the 12 winners hand on their jewellery to a recipient of their choice, at an awards ceremony. This scientific “relay” creates an ever-expanding cohort of talented women with a connection. Handing on the Suffrage Science jewellery is a vote of confidence by one woman for another. This resonates with the Suffragette movement for votes for women, from which the scheme draws both its name and its inspiration.

Professor Peter Diggle, president of the Royal Statistical Society and chair of the Medical Research Council’s Strategic Skills Fellowships Panel, said: “The more initiatives we have to encourage women to consider careers in mathematics, statistics and computing, the better.”

Professor Andrew Blake, Director of The Alan Turing Institute, said: “This is an excellent initiative and we wish the very best for its success. At The Alan Turing Institute we recognize and value diversity as a core principle, and are actively encouraging female researchers and students into data science.”

The winners fall into four categories:

Mathematics:

1 Prof Christl Donnelly Imperial College London

2 Prof Jane Hutton University of Warwick

3 Prof Frances Kirwan University of Oxford

4 Prof Sylvia Richardson Medical Research Council, Biostatistics Unit

5 Prof Gwyneth Stallard Open University

 Computing:

1 Prof Ann Blandford University College London

2 Prof Muffy Calder OBE University of Glasgow

3 Prof Leslie Goldberg University of Oxford

4 Prof Wendy Hall DBE University of Southampton

5 Prof Carron Shankland University of Stirling

International Research:

Prof Shafrira Goldwasser MIT/Weizmann Institute of Science

Communications:

Prof Celia Hoyles University College London

 

For high-resolution photographs of prototypes of the jewellery awards and the online brochure contact:

Susan Watts, Head of Public Engagement and Communications
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN
T: 0208 383 8247 M: 07590 250652 Email: susan.watts@csc.mrc.ac.uk

To contact Professor Hutton please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy
University of Warwick
Tel UK 024 76523708 office
07767 655860 mobile
p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

PR700 PJD 10th October 2016



[1] Advancing Women in Mathematics: Good Practice in UK University Departments. February 2013 (2016 update). London Mathematical Society

[2] Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: The Talent Pipeline from Classroom to Boardroom. UK Statistics 2014. WISE

Further Information:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy University of Warwick Tel UK 024 76523708, 07767 655860 p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk