In this first part of this blog posts series I will write about a brilliant mind Ada Lovelace.
Ada Lovelace, the first ever computer programmer
If someone asks you to think about precursors in technology and computer science, a list of masculine names will probably come to your mind. As Christian de Pizan said, "Neither the loftiness nor the lowliness of a person lies in the body according to the sex, but in the perfection of conduct and virtues". Of course there have been great women in technology, and I would like to write a little about them in the coming blog series because they deserve to be remembered and to be admired, too.
Ada Lovelace was born in London, England in December 1815. She is known as the first computer programmer in history – we owe her everything that we do in today's digital era.
Lovelace's parents were important characters in British society, too. Her father was the world renown British poet Lord Byron and her mother was Annabella Milbanke, an outstanding mathematician. Her parents divorced and once that happen, Lovelace’s education was in hands of...guess who? Her brilliant and very intelligent mother. Lovelace’s mom was the responsible for the analytical mind that this woman had.
Ada Lovelace met the British mathematician Charles Babbage, who gave her knowledge of the foundations of computer science. From an analytical engine which Charles worked with, Lovelace created the first ever algorithm in history. This allowed Charles Babbage’s machine to make complex calculations and store data and programs.
Lovelace was a very visionary woman. Charles Babbage wrote a letter to Michael Faraday, a very versatile scientific who discovered electrolysis and magnetic induction, about Lovelace. It said something like this: “she’s a magician, with her spell she has dominated the most abstract science in the world. Ada has learned about this science with such a strength of which scarcely any masculine intellect is capable of, at least in our country”.
It was not until 1979, a century after her death, that the US Department of Defense recognized Lovelace's contributions to science. A programming language was named after her: Ada.
Wait for the next post about another powerful female mind in computer science. These women completely broke the gender codes of their time. They invited more women to be involved in technology. They are truly an example to follow and wonderful role models, not only for women but for everyone who loves science and technology.
SourcesBook: James Essinger. The Algorithm Of Ada: Ada Lovelace Life, Daughter Of Lord Byron And The Informatics Era Pioneer. Publishing House: Alba Trayectos.
Magazine: Liz Basaldua. (March 2016). Las olvidadas de La Historia. Algarabia, 138, 40-41.