Ada Lovelace Day 2014 – Minal Sampath

What ho, fellow travelers through time and space! I hope you’re well. And speaking of space, today is Ada Lovelace Day once again and I’m here to profile Minal Sampath!

minal sampath
image via Skies of Couple-Colour

Here’s what you need to know about Minal Sampath:

– She’s a systems engineer in India.

– From roughly 2011-2013 she was working intensively, sometimes to the tune of 18-hour days, on ISRO’s mission to Mars.

– You know, the one you might be familiar with from this photo of amazing Indian scientist women hugging each other after they successfully landed their orbiter, making India the fourth country in the world to do so.

– She was inspired to become a scientist when she saw a live launch on TV as a kid, so she worked to make it happen like a boss.

– She and her team built three instruments for the orbiter, including an infrared camera and a methane detector.

– In an interview with BBC, she stated that she wants to help improve the ratio of working woman scientists in India: “I want women to imagine that they can do this.” I can only imagine how many young girls she’s motivating with her visibility, just as she was motivated in her childhood.

– She’s also said that she wants to be the first female space-center director in India, and that someday she’d like to go up into space herself.

Keep an eye on her, friends. She’s going to be running ISRO before too long.

If you’d like to know more about some of the women who worked on the Indian Mars mission, this Firstpost article by Sandip Roy is a great place to start. You can also peruse this year’s ALD spreadsheet to see other great women who are being profiled in Ada Lovelace’s honor. Finally, if you want even more reading material, go through The Toast’s Gal Science archives to read interesting, funny, smart pieces written by lots of woman scientists themselves. Astrophysicists! Biologists! Volcanologists! It’s heady stuff, I tell you.

Why not celebrate a woman scientist today?

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