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Professor Jean Golding OBE honoured in book to mark Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

15 October 2013

Tuesday 15 October is Ada Lovelace Day, a day which celebrates remarkable women scientists, like Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), an English mathematician who is credited with being the first computer programmer.

This year a book entitled A Passion for Science is being published to mark the day. One of the many great women scientists it celebrates is Professor Jean Golding OBE, who overcame much adversity in childhood, including TB and polio, and went on to study maths at Oxford University at a time when women were outnumbered by men 10 to one.

She developed a keen interest in statistics and applied this knowledge to several other health research projects before establishing the now world-famous Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol in 1991, for which she received an OBE in 2012.

More than two decades later, Children of the 90s has published almost 1,000 academic papers and produced hundreds of important discoveries about health and wellbeing.

Now in her 70s and retired from the day-today running of Children of the 90s, Professor Golding is busier than ever, conducting and publishing research. Most recently she showed that the amount of mercury we absorb from fish is proportionately far lower than previously thought, which has important implications for the advice given to pregnant women about how much fish they should be encouraged to eat during pregnancy.

When not working (a rare occurrence), Professor Golding enjoys a modicum of good wine and the company of her children and grandson.

The chapter on Professor Golding was written by Suzi Gage, a PhD student who is researching the relationship between drug use and mental health among people in Children of the 90s.

Speaking about why she chose Professor Golding, Suzi said: “I'm incredibly lucky to be able to use Children of the 90s data in my PhD research, and the more I heard about Jean, the more inspiring I found her to be. The vision she had when she set up Children of the 90s, knowing what information would be useful to collect, is supremely valuable to people like me conducting their research two decades after the cohort began. It's amazing to be able to not only meet and interview, but also work with one of my academic heroes.’

Professor Golding said: “I am delighted that there is increasing recognition that women have important abilities in science and the more publicity that can be given to that the better.”

  • The book is available to download here.
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