If you know about Ada Lovelace Day then chances are there that you do know about Ada Lovelace. Ada Lovelace day is celebrated internationally every year, and it is a symbol of women in science, engineering, technology and maths. Last year it was
celebrated on 15th October, this year it will be celebrated on 14th October.
Ada Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.As a young adult, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, and in particular Babbage’s work on the Analytical Engine. he also developed a vision on the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities.
Ada Lovelace was born Augusta Ada Byron on 10 December 1815, the child of the poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, and Anne Isabella “Annabella” Milbanke, Baroness Byron. George Byron expected his baby to be “the glorious boy” and was disappointed that his wife gave birth to a girl.At the age of eight, she experienced headaches that obscured her vision. In June 1829, she was paralyzed after a bout of measles. She was subjected to continuous bed rest for nearly a year, which may have extended her period of disability. By 1831, she was able to walk with crutches.Despite being ill Ada developed her mathematical and technological skills. When Ada was twelve years old, this future “Lady Fairy”, as Charles Babbage affectionately called her, decided that she wanted to fly. Ada went about the project methodically, thoughtfully, with imagination and passion. Her first step in February 1828, was to construct wings. She investigated different material and sizes. She considered various materials for the wings; paper, oilsilk, wires and feathers. She examined the anatomy of birds to determine the right proportion between the wings and the body. She decided to write a book Flyology illustrating, with plates, some of her findings. She decided what equipment she would need, for example, a compass, to “cut across the country by the most direct road”, so that she could surmount mountains, rivers and valleys. Her final step was to integrate steam with the “art of flying”.Throughout her illnesses, she continued her education.Her mother’s obsession with rooting out any of the insanity of which she accused Lord Byron was one of the reasons that Ada was taught mathematics from an early age.
Throughout her life, Ada was strongly interested in scientific developments and fads of the day, including phrenology and mesmerism.Even after her famous work with Babbage, Ada continued to work on other projects. In 1844, she commented to a friend Woronzow Greig about her desire to create a mathematical model for how the brain gives rise to thoughts and nerves to feelings (“a calculus of the nervous system”).
Ada Lovelace is an apostle of a woman’s intellectual might, she inspires me, and I am sure she will continue to inspire the generations to come.