Suw Charman, who joined us in Portugal for SHiFT 2006 is one of the mentors behind todays celebration – ‘Finding Ada‘ – which can be summarized in a very simple way: Get to know, at least once a year on this day, a bit more about the amazing women working in technology and their important role for todays achievements ;)

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illustration by UnkemptWomen.

As organizer of SHiFT I can safely say that most of the women in technology go unnoticed, for sometime I personally tried to figure out the reasoning behind such fact. One other time also asked for help to other fellow women to find such individuals that shine in the dark, to help me persuade them to take place in the stage and even so, in the end, is almost impossible to have even representations of man and women on stage, although I’m happy to say that we managed to keep scoring better on women representation each year.

238829.jpegSo rather than telling you about the amazing story of the first women in technology I set out to search and find some of the women I come to know about who happen to work with technology related subjects! As Portuguese, I’ve decided to talk about a portuguese women, so I chose Elvira Fortunato – a portuguese research who hit the headlines last year when received an award from the European Research Council on behalf of her work on the field of transparent computing and in particular for developing the first paper transitor. Elvira work has been centered on building transistors out of alternative materials like ceramics and glass.

Elvira Fortunato work is not only unique and interesting in turning apparently inert surfaces into computational interfaces, but also presents bright possibilities for low-cost, flexible, and disposable microelectronics, such as biosensors, intelligent packaging, and light-bulbs on orders of magnitude cheaper than the traditional transistors.

For anyone interested in reading more about Elvira and her team work, please refer to the Applied Physics Letters (2008) available online http://link.aip.org/link/?APPLAB/93/203501/1, or the paper on “High Performance Flexible Hybrid Field Effect Transistors based on Cellulose Fiber-Paper” will be published September in IEEE Electron Device Letters – http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/RecentIssue.jsp?punumber=55.

For those of you, who can speak Portuguese, you may also find very interesting to view this interviews where Elvira, explains briefly the idea behind this transparent electronic development:

This post is a very brief note on a project I find truly original and amazing. Her work recent recognition only serves to prove that a lot of interesting and unique technological developments is being done and lead by women, so to her, her team, and all of the more than geek women out there, my special congratulations on this day and a big THANK YOU for their work!

I can’t finish this post, with two special notes, one SHiFT and our desire to have more women presenting their findings and work, not only as form of knowledge sharing but also reaching for the community and helping inspire others to follow their same technology steps.

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illustration by UnkemptWomen.

The last note, is more of a thank you note to Lucy for her illustrations for this post, something that was entirely last minute, but couldn’t be in sync with the idea behind this day.