Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Who is Ada Lovelace?

Today is 'Ada Lovelace day', but who on earth is Ada? Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, was born Augusta Ada Byron. Brought up by her mother, she was encouraged to study logic, science and mathematics, for fear that she would inherit her father's poetic temperament. She grew up being fascinated by mechanisms from an early age, and embraced the Industrial revolution, designing things such as steam flying machines.

In 1833 Ada worked alongside Charles Babbage, mathematician and inventor, on a device called the Analytical Engine, an early predecessor of the modern computer. Ada became better known in 1842, when she expanded an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea, and elaborated on the use of machines through the manipulation of symbols. She developed a vision for the capabilities of computers to go much further than simple calculating and number-crunching, which is what others in the field focussed on. Her programs were the most elaborate and complete to date, and first to be published, and as a result she became known as the first computer programmer, long before computers even existed and in a time where women weren't generally educated.

Nowadays, the day is used as an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It encourages other women to draw inspiration from those who have gone before them in the fields of STEM, both famous and not.

We'd like to know, what women do you look up to, famous or not, and how do they inspire you? Comment below, or on our Facebook page.

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