Ada Byron Lovelace
Date: 11/13/95 at 9:1:23 From: Anonymous Subject: Ada Byron Lovelace We are looking for information on Ada Byron Lovelace. Our search has provided minimal results. In our quest we have found only an article or two. If you have any information (Web sites, books, Internet addresses) please respond. Beth Leisses Perry Tipler Middle School
Date: 11/13/95 at 10:45:1 From: Doctor Sarah Subject: Re: Ada Byron Lovelace Hi there - I've found you some Web sites for Ada Byron Lovelace: Here's a site that will tell you about Ada Lovelace's life: ftp://sw-eng.falls-church.va.us/public/AdaIC/pol-hist/history/lady-lov.txt Here's a page on Early Women of Mathematics and Pioneering Women in Computing: http://www.cs.yale.edu/HTML/YALE/CS/HyPlans/tap/past-women.html From it you can find an article on Ada Lovelace that also discusses women and math: ftp://ftp.cpsr.org/cpsr/gender/clark/Lewis.Judith and here's a description of a poster about Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace: Poster on "The Birth of the Computer Revolution," depicting Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, 1995. The poster may be ordered prepaid post paid by check for $10 plus $3 shipping and handling, from Critical Connection P.O. Box 452, Sausalito,CA 94966. The concept of the computer was first visualized by Charles Babbage in 1834 in England. His idea for the analytical engine consisted of 4 parts: an input device, a storage, a mill (processing unit) and output device. Few people supported his ideas. A knighthood was suggested, but Babbage regarded it as a being "b" knighted, and instead referred to himself as "Sir Alphabet Function". In 1843, Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, the daughter of the romantic poet, Lord Byron, wrote a description of Babbage's ideas. She not only described Babbage's plans, but included what is now considered the first computer program. She also added her prescient comments which have stood the test of time: she hypothesized the machine might compose complex music, graphics, be a multipurpose machine of both practical and scientific use. Babbage called Ada, "The Enchantress of Numbers". Charles Babbage (1791-1871) and Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace (1815- 1852), were two of the most picturesque characters in computer history. Their ideas were dropped, picked up, and morphed to the present day. A software language developed by the United States Department of Defense was named in Ada's honor. William Gibson and Bruce Sterling used Ada as a character in their popular science fiction novel, The Difference Engine. In the PBS series The Machine that Changed the World, Ada was shown sitting writing letters to Charles Babbage. Though her life was short (like her father she died at 36 years of age) her letters, and a selection from her description of Babbage's engine found in Ada, The Enchantress of Numbers by Betty A. Toole (Strawberry Press) are filled with both fantasy and the foundation of the concepts of the computer revolution. The history, the present, and the future, of the computer revolution is filled with many people, famous, and not famous, working together. And the future ?? -- Betty A. Toole, author of Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers. Enjoy! -Doctor Sarah, The Geometry Forum
Date: 11/13/95 at 11:13:0 From: Doctor Sarah Subject: Re: Ada Byron Lovelace I found you another reference for Ada Lovelace. The style isn't the greatest, but there's a good amount of information. http://www.scottlan.edu/lriddle/women/love.htm Written by Kellie Hocking, Class of 1996 (Agnes Scott College) Surprisingly, amidst all the scandal, social gossiping, sickness and family fame, emerged one of the most talented mathematicians, Augusta Ada Byron (later called Ada Lovelace). As a young woman coming from high society it was very unlikely for a woman to pursue a technical field. Not only was the time period against her but a horrible scandal concerning her father was the center of gossip for quite some time. Yet Ada still persevered through one of the most challenging subjects of the time - mathematics. Her interests did not stop in the field of mathematics though. Ada went on to publish a work concerning mechanical engineering, settled with a husband, had three children and somewhere found time to delve into her studies. As a child, Ada was very sickly yet her strong will still enabled her to be quite charming. Her father, George Gordon, Lord Byron, loved her dearly but since her parents' separation shortly after she was born, and from his death when she was a child, Ada grew up with just her mother, Annabella Milbanke or Lady Byron. Lady Byron was herself an amateur mathematician. Ada struggled with immobile states of sickness throughout her adolescence and adulthood, and yet through her strong will and by the encouragement of her mother, she pursued mathematics. Most of her education was the result of many tutors and friends such as Augustus de Morgan. She acquired many companions in her pursuits of her studies. She eventually met another mathematician, Mrs. Mary Somersville, whom she had admired for a long time. Through Mrs. Somerville's son, Ada was able to meet her future husband, Earl of Lovelace (Lord William King at the time). She married the thirty year old Earl at the age of nineteen. Soon after having three children Ada fell ill to a number of sicknesses. Unfortunately, these illnesses plagued her off and on, and so, she was often forced to abandon other mathematical endeavors. Among some of her other scholarly friends was Charles Babbage. Babbage, at the time, was working on the Analytical Engine. She thought so much of this machine that she labored by writing and translating a previous work (which was originally written by L. F. Menabrea in French) about the engine. Because of her addition of detailed explanations of many of the principles involved in the Analytical Engine, she has been credited with the concept of programming, and so, has been called the inventor of programming. Since the time period was not in favor of a practicing woman mathematician, Ada signed only her quiet initials, A.A.L., to distinguish this work as her own. Her work was entitled "Observations on Mr. Babbages's Analytical Engine." Today, on behalf of her great work in mathematics, a military programming language, Ada, is named after her. After the publishing of her work, Ada did nothing more of significance with her mathematical talents, yet has still remained an asset to the field of mathematics especially in the area of computer science. Some of the brightest scholars of the time, which included Michael Faraday and Charles Wheatsone, acknowledged her gift in this field. Even though she was a sickly woman, Ada still made time for athletics. Her greatest love was riding horses and that is where her financial troubles took a turn for the worst. After betting on horse races Ada lost heavily and became obsessed with placing bets. She became so indebted that she had to sell her family jewels. She used Babbage's servants to do her dirty work since it was not sociably acceptable for a lady to be involved in such activities. Her mathematical talents could not get her out of the financial difficulties that amounted from her compulsive gambling. Her husband and mother recognized her problem, and as a result of ending this obsession, tried to cut off all ties with her gambling connections by keeping Babbage and his servants away. Unfortunately her family could not ward off the cancer that eventually consumed her. Ada died at the young age of thirty-six. Her accomplishments exceeded many women of her time. She proved to be an everlasting figure of hope and inspiration as she triumphed through impossible odds. Many believe that she could have continued on with her mathematics if it had not been for her illnesses. However, her accomplishments when she was alive still live on today in our own technology, and her work will continue to do so as new and better means of technology are built from some of the fundamental mathematical explanations of Ada Lovelace. References Ada Countess of Lovelace, Moore, Doris Langley, Harper & Row, Publishers. New York, 1977. Women and Numbers: Lives of Women Mathematicians, Perl, Teri, Wide World Publishing, 1993. Thinking and Computing, T.W. Hogan, 1995, p.12. -Doctor Sarah, The Geometry Forum
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