Skip to main content

The only legitimate child of Lord Byron by Anne Isabella "Annabella" Milbanke, Baroness Byron, was destined to lay the groundwork for the modern computer.  Born Ada Augusta Byron in 1815, she became one of the best known female mathematicians of the Nineteenth Century. Her mother had her trained in mathematics, which she considered good for the development of the mind. Because Ada became the Countess of Lovelace by marriage (her husband, William King, was made Count of Lovelace in 1838), she became known as Ada Lovelace. Often in ill health, she was passionately interested in the scientific developments of the day, especially Charles Babbage's Difference Engine and his Analytical Engine, an early mechanical computer (which was never actually built.)  At the age of 17 she corresponded with Babbage (Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge), who called her "The Enchantress of Numbers."  Later she actually met him.

She was obviously a very impressive personality and her work on the mechanical computer of Babbage earned her the reputation of being the first computer programmer. She published a paper explaining Babbage's Analytical Engine and included a method for calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers. She was one of the few scientists of her day who understood the principles of machine calculation. However, her interest did not stop there and she investigated phrenology and mesmerism, among other then current "scientific" fads.

Unfortunately she died at a very young age of uterine cancer and was thus unable to continue her work. Under the influence of her mother, she became very religious toward the end, even recanting her associations with scientists. It was only with the republishing of her paper on Babbage's machine in 1953.

There has been some controversy over Ada Lovelace's actual contributions to computing, but it has been shown that she had made a conceptual jump and her programs for the Babbage machine would actually have worked, if the device had ever been built. However some authorities believe that Babbage actually wrote the programs and published under Ada's name. Letters between the two, imply that they collaborated on the programs, so we may never know Ada's full contribution. A computer language was named  "ADA" after her by the United States Department of Defense.

Ada Lovelace http://www.ideafinder.com/...

Ada Lovelace, founder of computing http://www.sdsc.edu/...

Ada Lovelace http://en.wikipedia.org/...

Lovelace biography http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/...

Originally posted to Desert Scientist on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:31 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech, History for Kossacks, and Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site