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Thread: Lady Ada Lovelace - mathematician and a genius. *Update post #15*

  1. #1

    Lady Ada Lovelace - mathematician and a genius. *Update post #15*

    My wife started a Ph.D (psychology) at Harvard Extention School 2.5 yrs ago.

    I can safely say that the level of education is breathtaking and things are going well for her. Very well, I may add. Apart from designing, performing and writing a study, students have to follow a few classes as well. There's a wide variety to choose from. She starts early September with a class about Genius and Psychology (or something titled like that). Part of the program is that every student has to come up with a name for research of the subject. Rules: no living persons and not two students are allowed to use the same person for their 'field study'.

    Quite a few names have been mentioned here in this house; to name a few Alan Turing, Nikola Tesla, a few music composers like Beethoven. Then my wife decided that she would opt for a female genius. Frist up was Madame Curie (she has lived in my hometown for a while) But it was my youngest son who came up with Lady Ada Lovelace.

    Lady Ada Lovelace, lord Byron's daughter, isn't first on everybody's list so to speak. But she's an interesting person. Finding facts and a proper biography isn't easy. There's info about her on the internet, but that's not enough. Yes, there is a nice list of sources at the end of the Wiki page, but I suppose there's more.

    My wife is looking for a proper biography (paper version), an analysis of his life and work, best university library to find information etc.

    She hopes that members here - being British- know more about her, or are able to point her towards potential information.

    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 10th September 2019 at 17:50.

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    I don't have anything useful to add apart from saying your wife has made a brilliant choice; Lady Ada Lovelace is one of the titans of computer history, for many reasons.

    I work in IT and she is a celebrated historical figure where I work; along with the more obvious examples such as Turing and Babbage.

    At a very simple and basic (no pun intended) level; I find it fascinating that something so common as the terms de-bug and computer bug are directly attributable to her.

  3. #3
    Master
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    The Science Museum in London had a very good exhibition about her a few years ago. I think they still have some of the exhibits. Maybe too far for your wife to travel but if she contacts the Museum as a researcher I think they can help her.

    A long time ago I could even write some simple programs in the Ada language :). I think your wife made a great choice.

  4. #4
    How about Grace Hopper instead, more recent and so potentially easier to study?
    Last edited by ernestrome; 26th August 2019 at 12:45.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ernestrome View Post
    How about Grace Hopper instead, more recent and so potentially easier to study?
    I'll suggest it to her! On the other side: 'easier' is normally not in her vocabulary...

    Only a few postings and a whole new world opens up: Sydney Padua's comic about Babbage and Lovelace is a good starter. Padua is a regular on Google Talks about Lovelace ("...I don't know anything about computers, her life simply reads like a comic!"). That's a good start.

    Contacting the Science Museum as a Researcher is another great idea. I've forwarded it to my wife. I know that she has no business or meeting in London for the next three months or so, but going to London only takes less than an hour from Rotterdam Airport (Easyjet or similar)

    Menno

  6. #6
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    It's a brilliant choice, unsurprisingly I have huge admiration for Lovelace and her work. Padua's book is packed with information whilst also being a lot of fun.


  7. #7
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I am a bad man.

    I genuinely wondered why a Harvard doctorate would focus on Linda Lovelace.

    My apologies.

    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  8. #8
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    Deep...

  9. #9
    A good starting point is a BBC4 biography presented by UCL's Hannah Fry (she's also doing this years RI Christmas lectures). The programme references many of the original papers and blueprints that Ada Lovelace reviewed. Also, it may worth checking with the library at Royal Holloway and the Bodleian.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I am a bad man.

    I genuinely wondered why a Harvard doctorate would focus on Linda Lovelace.

    My apologies.

    True question, but let me tell you that one of the mandatory psychology courses had to to with the BDSM Scene in Berlin... It was not about the 'content' but about the way a research/survey had been conducted. There was enough information about the scene despite the 'technical approach' of the course... I genuinely think that Harvard tries to separate the 'fainthearted' from the die-hard researchers.

    M

  11. #11
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    The comic is great, I'm actually reading it right now and the footnotes contain enough serious detail for anyone researching the subject.

  12. #12
    Master Xantiagib's Avatar
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    We used a procedural programming language in Uni called 'Ada' named after her because she is credited as being the first ever 'Programmer'

  13. #13
    Master
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    For those of us who remember the Internet when the World Wide Web was young (and before) you can step back in time on this Ada site last updated in 1995.

    https://www.adahome.com/rm95/

  14. #14
    This is the list of Wikipedia references :

    Baum, Joan (1986), The Calculating Passion of Ada Byron, Archon, ISBN 978-0-208-02119-9.

    Elwin, Malcolm (1975), Lord Byron's Family, John Murray.

    Essinger, James (2014), Ada's algorithm: How Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace launched the digital age, Melville House Publishing, ISBN 978-1-61219-408-0.

    Fuegi, J; Francis, J (October – December 2003), "Lovelace & Babbage and the creation of the 1843 'notes'", Annals of the History of Computing, 25 (4): 16–26, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2003.1253887.

    Hammerman, Robin; Russell, Andrew L. (2015), Ada's Legacy: Cultures of Computing from the Victorian to the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery and Morgan & Claypool, doi:10.1145/2809523, ISBN 9781970001518.

    Isaacson, Walter (2014), The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Simon & Schuster.

    Kim, Eugene; Toole, Betty Alexandra (1999). "Ada and the First Computer". Scientific American. 280 (5): 76–81. Bibcode:1999SciAm.280e..76E. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0599-76.

    Lewis, Judith S. (July – August 1995). "Princess of Parallelograms and her daughter: Math and gender in the nineteenth century English aristocracy". Women's Studies International Forum. 18 (4): 387–394. doi:10.1016/0277-5395(95)80030-S.

    Marchand, Leslie (1971), Byron A Portrait, John Murray.

    Menabrea, Luigi Federico (1843), "Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage", Scientific Memoirs, 3, archived from the original on 15 September 2008, retrieved 29 August 2008 With notes upon the memoir by the translator.

    Miller, Clair Cain. "Ada Lovelace, 1815–1852," New York Times, March 8, 2018.

    Moore, Doris Langley (1977), Ada, Countess of Lovelace, John Murray, ISBN 0 7195 3384 8.

    Moore, Doris Langley (1961), The Late Lord Byron, Philadelphia: Lippincott, ISBN 978-0-06-013013-8, OCLC 358063.

    Stein, Dorothy (1985), Ada: A Life and a Legacy, MIT Press Series in the History of Computing, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-262-19242-2.

    Toole, Betty Alexandra (1992), Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: A Selection from the Letters of Ada Lovelace, and her Description of the First Computer, Strawberry Press, ISBN 978-0912647098.

    Toole, Betty Alexandra (1998), Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age, Strawberry Press, ISBN 978-0912647180.

    Turney, Catherine (1972), Byron's Daughter: A Biography of Elizabeth Medora Leigh, Scribner, ISBN 978-0684127538

    Woolley, Benjamin (February 1999), The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason, and Byron's Daughter, AU: Pan Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-333-72436-1, retrieved 7 April 2013.
    Of these, Im guessing that Toole, Moore, Woolley & Turney will have based their work on original research, so their references would be very interesting to see. If you are lucky, most of the documents will be in the Bodleian Library's archive that you could apply to inspect (probably in the UK) or to get hold of any compendium or digest.

  15. #15
    Good news, the Harvard Tutor has accepted (and applauded) my wife's plan for writing about Lady Ada.

    Sadly, most people who've written about her, have used the same sources. My wife is currently in Boston (or: Little Cambridge as someone wrote) and she has an appointment with a librarian of the Harvard Library to help her find more sources.

    TBC

    Menno

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