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Celebrating Women in Computer Science

University of St Andrews

Image by Will Francis

About Joan Clarke Podcast

Joan Clarke Podcast is a student-run podcast in the School of Computer Science in the University of St Andrews. Started by Rhona McCracken and Ira Kashyap, the podcast was established as a platform to have conversations about diversity in Computer Science and to celebrate the incredible students and staff in the department. Our name is borrowed from a female cryptanalyst who worked alongside Alan Turing in Bletchley Park during WWII as a recognition of her under-celebrated contributions to Mathematics and Cryptology.


Who Was Joan Clarke?

Joan Clarke was a mathematician and cryptanalyst who worked alongside Alan Turing to break the German Enigma codes at Bletchley Park during WWII. Joan Clarke studied Mathematics at Newnham College, Cambridge and achieved a double first, becoming a wrangler in 1939. Despite her achievements, she was never awarded a full degree since Cambridge did not grant degrees to women until 1948 [1]. She was awarded the Philippa Fawcett Prize and the Helen Gladstone Scholarship for her mathematical achievements [2].

One of her supervisors at Cambridge recognised her talent for mathematics and recruited her to join the 'Government Code and Cypher School' at Bletchley Park. Here she worked alongside Alan Turing, an incredible mathematician and one of the first Computer Scientists, who she became life-long friends with and was briefly engaged to. 

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Want to learn more about Joan Clarke Podcast or have a story you want to share with us? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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