march 13, 2015

It's Pi Day tomorrow, so be sure to eat a slice of lemon meringue in honor of the world's most famous mathematical constant. Preferably, on Saturday, 3/14/15 at 9:26:53...when the date + time will add up to a perfect sequence of Pi's first 10 digits!

The popular unofficial holiday celebrates the utility + wonder of arithmetic.

Creative teachers in schools worldwide have fun observing it ~ with students bringing in pies and proving just how many digits {of the infinitely long number} they can rattle off.

What better time to prime present interest in STEM by sharing the stories of heroic innovators past? This week, we're taking a cue from our US CTO to showcase some of the world's top numbers people ~ women who've shaped the history of math + computing.


p.s. Browse by STEM to take a tally of the new gems we've dug up for #PiDay + #WomensHistoryMonth.

"Your best and wisest refuge from
all troubles is in your science."

Ada Lovelace
the first computer programmer


{unforgettable | She discovers...}

An English aristocrat + self-described Analyst & Metaphysician. A scientist ahead of her time who's credited with writing the first computer program.

source it!
The young Ada faced a slew of troubles ~ chronic illness, absentee parents and an unhappy marriage. But, the "Enchantress of Numbers" always found consolation and delight in her studies. From age 18 to her early death at 36, Ada collaborated with mathematician Charles Babbage to create an "analytical engine" ~ a.k.a., a computer. We're still reaping the rewards of her refuge!

These lines come from a series of letters Ada exchanged with fellow electricity buff Andrew Crosse. They were published posthumously in The Lady's Friend magazine to illustrate the "comprehensive intellect" + "noble sentiments" of the daughter of Lord Byron...who the magazine's editor dubbed the "most splendid and erratic of English poets."

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Ada was the only "legitimate" child of the rascally Romantic poet Lord Byron. Rumor had it, he married the mathematical Lady Annabella to cure his poor finances + reputation. The scandal only worsened when the two separated soon after Ada's birth.

The patron saint of women in STEM admired her dad's work...But, thought more highly of her own. "I do not believe," she boldly wrote to Charles Babbage, "that my father was (or ever could have been) such a Poet as I shall be an Analyst."

see more...about how Ada made science poetical

"Probably the most dangerous
phrase that anyone could use
in the world today
is that dreadful one: 'But we've
always done it that way.'"

Grace Hopper
the original computer scientist


{remarkable | She invents...}

A math prof who became the third programmer on the first computer in the US. A devoted reservist in the Navy's tech department who retired as a rear admiral + oldest serving officer at nearly 80 years.

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Grace got her PhD in mathematics at Yale while teaching the subject at Vassar. When WWII hit, she enthusiastically enlisted in the Navy. They were reluctant to take her at first, but, by the end of her career, they didn't want to let her go. She tried to retire in 1966 + 1971, but the Navy kept recalling her ~ even passing a special act from congress to keep Grace on duty several years past the mandatory retirement age!

We can see why they made the effort ~ Grace was a regular goodwill ambassador for STEM. The forward-thinking educator spent much of her last decade giving lectures to train + rev up future techies.

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In 1952, Grace created the first "compiler" ~ a program that translates mathematical code to machine code.

She also discovered the first computer "bug" ~ an actual moth caught in a relay of the massive Mark II.

Grace ~ who got her start on a 51' x 8' x 8' machine ~ accurately predicted the turn to the microprocessor. In spite of accelerating innovation, she liked to remind people that nothing's as powerful as the human brain. After all ~ "no computer will ever ask a new question."

discover more...Amazing-Grace aphorisms

"It's not only the question, but the way you try to solve it."

Maryam Mizrakhani
the geometry genius


{notable | She discovers...}

The first Iranian to win 2 gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. A Stanford prof who researches surfaces of geometric structures + other complex problems that take years to answer.

source it!
In 2014, Maryam became the first woman to win the Fields Medal ~ a prize established by the International Mathematical Union as its top honor in 1936. The IMF also made a video to publicize her creative, cross-disciplinary approach to age-old math problems.

Large-scale doodles are famously part of her process. She sketches shapes + diagrams so constantly, her 3-year-old daughter thinks she's a painter!

quoteur connections
The young Maryam was inspired by television biographies of this eloquent human rights activist and this two-time Nobel laureate.

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Maryam's a perfect STE{A}M role model...she dreamed of being a novelist as a child + still sees creative writing as akin to her current calling ~ "There are different characters, and you are getting to know them better. Things evolve, and then you look back at a character, and it's completely different from your first impression."

hear more...about how Maryam solved a problem that stumped mathematicians for 30 years

Fixing the
quote supply problem.
theme: STEM


We're looking for {sourced} quotes by women & girls that speak to science, technology, engineering and math.

Will you help us uncover the smart, funny, thought-provoking things she has said on the subject? And, fix the quote supply problem?

It's easy to pitch in. Simply ~ login or register as member + start submitting!


We recently asked for quotes about rights. Among our favorites:




Sharing quotes is a great way to inspire your team + community ~ browse by human rights...

What's she saying now? Conversation starters on trending topics...

"Florence's view was that the sea is out there, and it's there for the taking. I'm sure she's inspired many, many people."

~ Dame Ellen MacArthur
yachtswoman who broke the world record for fastest solo trip around the world in 2005   |   in response to the death of fellow sailing superstar Florence Arthaud in a helicopter accident while filming the reality show Dropped

"Go ahead and mess up big! Failure is not the end of the world."

~ Felicia Day
actor + web producer   |   in her vlog for #DearMe ~ the girl-empowerment campaign that launched on International Women's Day

~ ~ ~

We help you discover the ideas + stories of real women & girls.
And, easily share them.

To spark innovation. To create connections.
To bring balance to the world.

Quote fans...start your collection.

Math lovers... discover stories worth sharing.

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