Herstory of STEM: Ada Lovelace

//Herstory of STEM: Ada Lovelace

Herstory of STEM: Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was born Augusta Ada Byron on December 10, 1815, in London. Her father, Lord George Gordon Byron, was a romantic poet who divorced her mother only a month after her birth and left the country shortly after. Ada never met her father. Her mother, Anne Isabelle Milbanke, arranged for Ada to be tutored in mathematics and music in hopes that she would not grow up to be like her father. In 1828, Ada drew a design for a flying machine when she was just twelve years old.

In 1833 Ada met Charles Babbage, a Lucasian professor of mathematics, who would become her mentor and lifelong friend. Babbage invented the Difference Engine, a mathematical calculating device, which is considered to be the first computer. However, when Babbage finished his machine, he believed that it would be used solely for crushing numbers. It was Ada who first envisioned computers storing digital forms of music, pictures, and text. These ideas were far ahead of her time, and it would take the rest of the world more than a century to catch up.

Ada married William King in 1835, and bore three children. She became the Countess of Lovelace three years later when King inherited a noble title. However, the family and its fortunes were almost completely controlled by her mother, Lady Byron.

In the autumn of 1841, Babbage attended a conference in Turin, Italy, where he discussed his progress on a new invention, the Analytical Engine. After the conference, an Italian named Louis Menabrea published an article in French about the new machine, which Ada translated to English. Upon reading the translated article, Babbage told her to add her own notes and changes. In 1843, Ada published her own article that described the Analytical Engine and her visions of the future. All of her predictions have come true.

Ada Lovelace died of uterine cancer in 1852 at the age of 37. She was buried next to the father she never knew. It was not until a century after her death that her contributions to science and computing were recognized. In the 1950’s, she gained some popularity as the field of computer science took off. Later, in the 1970’s, the United States Department of Defense named a newly developed high-order computer programming language Ada after her. Ada is still used today. Lady Lovelace was very ahead of her time, and many of the technological advances made in the last century are owed to her.

By | 2017-12-04T19:39:08+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on Herstory of STEM: Ada Lovelace

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