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Entries by tag: finding ada

Ada Lovelace Day

This is a day late: apologies.
I don't want to write about a figure from the past, although they're important. The woman I have in mind is a good friend of mine, a working scientist. She isn't famous, she doesn't win huge research grants or get her name on papers (on in the papers). But she is a life-saver every day.
She works in a hospital behind the scenes. Without her and her colleagues, the doctors would find it far harder to diagnose accurately and to ensure patients receive the correct treatment. She works hard and for little reward and because her work is not flashy and not face-to-face, her profession is often forgotten about. She doesn't get big pay increases because the public love their nurses but forget everyone else, and increasing nurses' pay wins votes, but, due to limited budgets, has the knock-on effect of depressing pay for other NHS staff (whoa re usually dismissed as 'administrators').
Without my friend and her colleagues, hospitals could not run as well as they do. They are highly trained, highly qualified scientists and they are vital. They are underfunded, and overworked and their labs are understaffed. It's a graduate entry profession requiring years of subsequent training on low pay. It's shift work, 24/7, 365 days a year. Hospitals often treat them badly, ignore them, nag them and talk down to them. They work for very long hours in clean labs that lack any natural daylight, be in awkward places, be cramped and unpleasant. This is my friend's experience, yet she loves her job. She talks to me of the beauty of the SARS virus under a microscope, of her fascination with the science of epidemics, of the ingenuity of viruses and bacteria.
If you've ever had a blood test or a biopsy or a tissue test or anything else of that kind, these are the people who carried it out for you.
A lot of them are women. One of them is one of my very best friends. She's magic.

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