Blog Category: Women in Science and Technology

A Gentle Introduction

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Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction by Eleanor Rieffel and Wolfgang PolakOur book, Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction, has been out for a little over a month. So far, it has received as much attention from weaving blogs as science blogs, due to the card-woven bands on the cover.

MIT press takes pride in their cover designs, but warns authors that  “schedules rarely allow for individual consultation between designers and authors.” They do, however, ask authors to fill out a detailed questionnaire that includes questions asking for the authors’ thoughts with respect to a cover. It was the third question “What would you like the viewer to think or feel when they see the cover?” that prompted me to think that a fabric with abstract, colorful designs would suggest a “gentle” introduction to an abstract and colorful subject. Continue Reading

Justifying collaboration


A paper presented at CHI 2009 described strategies and processes used by intelligence analysts. Among other aspects, the paper discusses collaboration among analysts, quoting one of their participants:

What I will not trust and put into my analysis is somebody else’s analysis. I need to know the source of the information  and build on that so that I can put my level of trust in it and then it’s my name at stake when I provide an answer… I won’t trust their analysis until I look at the source of the information, and it will be, “Do I agree with the conclusions that they came to based on the facts and the evidence?”

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Advice for researchers

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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics, which came out just a few month ago, contains a wonderful short section entitled “Advice to a Young Mathematician” with advice from five eminent mathematicians. I was in the need of inspiration this weekend, and found some in these personal statements. Below the fold you will find a few excerpts applicable to any researcher of any age.

Readers: Please help me and other readers of this blog by posting in the comments section pointers to your favorite sources of research advice.

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Ada Lovelace Day (2)

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Today is Ada Lovelace Day. Given that I’ve named my child after Ms. Lovelace, I feel obligated and honored to take part in the pledge to “highlight [a] women in technology” that I look up to.

While I’ve many present and past fabulous female colleagues, if I’m to choose one to write about it’s a no-brainer.

Jennifer Mankoff is an associate processor at the Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University. Jen was my graduate advisor at Berkeley, seeing me through a master’s and PhD. Perhaps “nurse” is a better word, as she not only worked tirelessly with me to improve my abilities but at times literally cared for me when I was ill.

Jen is a whirling dervish. A good Samaritan. A force of nature.

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Ada Lovelace Day


Ada Lovelace Day is today, March 24.

There’s a movement afoot to celebrate by blogging about women in technology and the sciences. More than 1500 bloggers have signed up; you can see the results listed here.

Here’s my contribution: Women in Industrial Research Labs.

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, I’d like to raise a glass of virtual bubbly to all the amazing women scientists and researchers in the industrial research labs I’ve worked in… especially the ones who inspired and mentored (and hired) me.  More below the fold – but first:

Pop! hisssss…gurggurgle… Continue Reading

Event: Women at work in virtual worlds

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SDForum’s Virtual World SIG  (which I co-chair) and Women in Technology SIG celebrate Ada Lovelace Day by holding a joint SIG meeting featuring a panel of women who build, create, and work in virtual worlds. Panelists come from both industry and academia,  and will discuss their work in virtual worlds.

The SIG is Monday, March 23, from 7 – 8:30 PM; networking (and pizza) starts around 6.  It’s held at the Pillsbury-Winthrop offices in Palo Alto, off Page Mill Road. It’s free for SDForum members, $15 non-members.

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