Today marks the Ada Lovelace day, celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths around the world. Ada was Lord Byron's daughter, one of the first mathematicians and a scientist whose research notes inspired Alan Turning’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.
One of the women scientists who have inspired me is Dr. Irene Pepperberg, who tiredlessly worked with Alex, perhaps the most famous African grey parrot, to discover intelligence in an animal whose brain does not surpass the size of a shelled walnut. The discovery was proven to be comparable to human intelligence and from there on, it opened the door to all the concepts of animal cognition. This incredible journey and its effects on so many levels but also the relationship between Irene and Alex is the subject of the book Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process.