Thursday, March 25, 2010

Woman Warrior: Ada Lovelace

It's been way too long since I've done a Woman Warrior post and it's mind boggling to me how I missed Ada Lovelace Day yesterday. Actually, I know how it happened, I was thrilled to distraction with the sponsorship announcement that I had to make for the 3 Day. My Woman Warrior posts feature incredible and inspiring women who have made a difference in our world.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented.

Ada Lovelace, 1838

Ada had been taught mathematics from a very young age by her mother and met Babbage in 1833. Ten years later she translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer programme. The calculations were never carried out, as the machine was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Understanding that computers could do a lot more than just crunch numbers, Ada suggested that the Analytical Engine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” She never had the chance to fully explore the possibilities of either Babbage’s inventions or her own understanding of computing. She died, aged only 36, on 27th November 1852, of cancer and bloodletting by her physicians.

Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day which is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. For more information on Ada and some other amazing women in this field, be sure to check out the Ada Lovelace Day Website.


Unknown said...

Wow, what an amazing story!

thehauntedstudiounderthestairs said...

I love women pioneers.
I hate pioneer clothes though.


My Life Under the Bus said...

Holy Canolli - I saw that all day and ment to look up the meaning and SHAZAM - here it is ! I guess you do learn something new everyday - Thanks for the info !!

mermaiden said...

What an incredibly brilliant woman!

Amanda Conger said...

I am amazed I had never heard of this before! Thank you! : )

Athena's Armoury said...

I'm so glad that all of you enjoyed this post! I've gotten out of the habit of doing my woman warrior posts and really must get back to it. Thank you so much for visiting!