Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, is know for writing the world’s first computer “programme.” She had been taught mathematics by her mother from an early age, and translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Machine before the age of thirty. Babbage himself called her an “Enchantress of Numbers.” Her program was never carried out though, because the machine was never built. Lovelace foresaw the use of computers for more than just calculations.

I had no idea that computers were even thought of this early on, and it makes me wonder what sort of ideas people are coming up with now that seem ludicrous to us but will become an integral part in our great-grandchildren’s lives. Even more impressive is that Ada Lovelace is not just famous for being a “woman scientist,” but for the fact that she was a scientist. Her work surpassed that of the men that came before her, and provided a foundation for what would come in the future.

In pop culture, Lovelace was depicted in the science-fiction novel, The Difference Engine. She also apparently had a penchant for gambling.

-Kelsey Miller

~ by kelseylynnmiller on March 24, 2010.

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