Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab
October 8, 2011
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. I've chosen to write about Betts Wald who was a branch chief in the Communications Science division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) when I first met her. I joined NRL in 1974 as my first real job - after serving in the US Army when I was drafted as a graduate student at Brown. It was a great experience. NRL was full of wildly talented, energetic and brilliant managers who knew how to get impossible things done in engineering and government, and taught that skill to their teams. Betts was one of the best: leading and inspiring her team, running interference, providing just enough technical guidance (i.e. to avoid permanent damage) while constantly encouraging and developing her team's talents. Women in science and technology should be encouraged to consider career paths as leaders as well as individual contributors: Betts is a great role model. Although I never heard Betts shout: "To the difference engine!", except for the pipe it would be in character. And I'm not certain about the pipe.
Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad, and see author Sydney Padua's excellent 2D Goggles site.