Ada Lovelace Day!

Today is a special date for mathematics as well as women in STEM as today is known as Ada Lovelace day! For those who are not aware of Ada Lovelace, she was a gifted mathematician who was born in London on the 10th of December 1815. Ada Lovelace is regarded as the first computer programmer and the pioneer of her subject. Although, I myself am not a computer programmer. I've been reading about her all day and I have become fascinated about her. Personally, I feel like famous scientists either past or present should be discussed more in every day life. It's important that we recognise and celebrate what these people have contributed to our collective knowledge as well as understandings. In term of Ada and her contribution to science, she took part in writing the finished published programme. But before I start on the blog post, I think it's fair to point out that Ada's official name was actually Augusta Ada Bryan, the Countess of Lovelace. She's just affectionally called Ada Lovelace.

Whilst reading today, I realised that I have some similarities with Ada Lovelace. The first similarity was that both our parents separated just weeks after our births. In her story, it's definitely more heart-breaking as her father abandoned her and her mother due to an affair. Then weeks after that, he left the country only to die years later in Greece. Ada never knew her father though. Which I think, is a blessing as I know parts from my past and its quite painful on all parties when it's brought into conversation. My parents were never married. They separated quite soon after my father met his to-be wife at work. Even though my story's sadly quite ordinary now-a-days, I understand the relevance of this point in Ada's life in the 1800's. It couldn't have been easy on Ada's mother, Lady Anne Bryon. Early 19th centaury legal separation was difficult. Lord Bryon had all the power, he was held highly by readers of his poetry who stated that Ada's mother was cold and heartless. Whilst Lady Anne Bryon was advised to say nothing about the topic as any hint of warmth towards her ex-husband would be seen as forgiving her abuse. Lady Anne Bryon wasn't heartless though. She was reported of having a warm personality despite how strictly she raised her daughter. 

Another similarity is that both me and Ada had a fascination for our subjects quite early on. While I loved everything to do with biology and would watch any programme on TV, Ada Lovelace has her passion for machine designing. Especially boats and steam propelling flying machines. She would go meticulously over diagrams of new inventions in the newspaper, Industrial Revolution. 

I personally loved reading that it was Ada's mentor who introduced her to the person that would be her closest and lifelong friend - Professor of Mathematics, Charles Bobbage. I could imagine it was quite an experience for her. During this time, Charles Bobbage was a celebrity. He was celebrated for his visions and unfinished plans for a large clockwork calculating machine. Charles Bobbage would later speak highly about Ada Lovelace. He has was quotes as addressing her as, 'The Enchantress of Numbers...' as well as describing Ada Lovelace as, 'That enchantress who has thrown her magic spell around the most abstract of Science and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects could have exerted over it'. I found in my reading that Charles Bobbage spoke highly of Ada, state she was higher in his mind than anyone he knew. 

Ada Lovelace was intrigued by the plans for an analytical engine which if you could looked into them would have all the essential elements of a modern computer of today. Plus, she is well known for the translation of an article. After Ada had finished with the translation, the final version was three times longer then when it started. Ada also included information containing the early works of a computer programme. Along with very elaborate and the most complete sketches of the experimental machine that was first ever published. Ada also thought to include ideas of how to use a machine like theirs after it was created, Ada spoke in the article about the creation of music and the manipulation of symbols. It was because of this article that she was regarded as the first computer programmer which is amazing to think about. 

Unfortunately, Ada Lovelace passed away from uterine cancer at the age of 36 on the 27th of November 1952. I'm glad that she did manage to see her work being published even if it was only for a couple of months.