It’s Ada Lovelace Day!

By Aimee Whitcroft 16/10/2012

Today, October 16th, is Ada Lovelace Day.

Ada Lovelace, for those who didn’t already know (and you all do, right? * wink *), also called Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, is one of the shining stars in mathematics and computer history.

Ada Lovelace, a woodcut graphic by Colin Adams based on the original watercolor by Alfred Edward Chalon. Donated by the Ada Initiative to Wikimedia Commons.

Yep, you heard right – a _girl_ was incredibly good at maths 😛

She was born and lived during the 1800s, and it known primarily for her work on Babbage’s analytical machine*.

Which means that, in some circles at least, she is also considered to have been the world’s first computer programmer.

Anyway, today is her day!

There’s a lovely page on the website Finding Ada devoted to the day, and I encourage you to go check it out. Christchurch City Libraries has also put out this great list of nonfiction books about female scientists.

And a fun challenge – what’s YOUR favourite story about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering. ,maths).  Who has inspired you?


Related posts

Greetings, 2012ers (in which I talk about the Ada Initiative, and going to a barcamp held by them)


* I’ve seen a giant replica of its predecessor, the Difference Engine, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Huge, and amazing.**

** The Difference Engine was never actually built during Babbage’s lifetime, and the question remains whether it would have been possible to do so (even if anyone had tried), given milling technology at the time.  Now, anyone can make their own using 3d printing, and plans are underfoot to construct a wor

0 Responses to “It’s Ada Lovelace Day!”

  • If you ever find anyone who can/wants to give a talk at nerdnite about Ada, send them to Auckland as well. I’d dearly love a night where we have a talk about Ada and a talk about Babbage as well.

    I presume I’ve sent you to the adventures of Lovelace and Babbage before?

    • I have, indeed, seen it. Thanks, though!

      And will defs. Mebbe we can start speaker swapping 🙂

  • One of the highlights of my brief visit to the museums in London a few months ago was finally seeing the Babbage engines. There are several in the Science Museum. I know a little of Ada’s story from running into it in various places, first from when I was an undergraduate. I did computer science as part of my mixed biology/computer science degree – among other things, the Ada programming language is named after her and computer science courses invariably give a brief account of her role in the history of computing.

    Perhaps one of the better examples of a New Zealander to hold up would be cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley. There was a good article about her in the Canterbury University alumni magazine a while back.

  • I have just sneakily found someone who’s happy to talk about Beatrice Tinsley at Nerdnite. [grin].

    Ada and Babbage both have held a semi-fascination for me ever since I found out about them. Ada especially, I think I can sort of understand Babbages attempts to construct a calculating engine. The leap of abstraction and intelligence that Ada made though is so very very cool.

    If I had a wall of heroes, then the both of them would very definitely be there. {/fanboy moment]