Ada Augusta Lovelace

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In a world that is dominated by men, there were few women who could stand up and be noticed in the earlier years. In the early nineteenth century, Ada Augusta Byron Lovelace, made herself known among the world of men and her work still influences today's world. She is considered the "Mother of Computer Programming" and the "Enchantress of Numbers." The world of computers began with the futuristic knowledge of Charles Babbage and Lady Lovelace. She appeared to know more about Babbage's work of the Analytical Engine than he himself knew. During the time of Lovelace's discoveries, women were just beginning to take part in the scientific world, although the attitude towards women and education was that women should not exceed or match that of a male. It was also believed that women who studied extensively would become extremely ill and eventually die. Lovelace was driven to the world of men by her passion and love for mathematics. Her upbringing, her search for more knowledge, her love for mathematics and her incredible inherited wiring abilities bought to life what we know today as computer programming or computer science.

Ada Augusta Byron Lovelace was born to Anne Isabella Milbanke and the famous British Poet George Gordon Byron on December 10, 1815 in London England. Her parent's marriage lasted for one year and one month after the birth of Lovelace. From that point in time, her domineering mother governed Lovelace's life. Her mother encouraged a formal education. In Lovelace's time, education of women was limited to that of bringing up their children and keeping the household. As a child, Lovelace's tutors and governesses were all instructed to teach her the discipline of science, mathematics, and music in such a way the she would never find the love of writing that her father possessed. "Undoubtedly, Lovelace was better off not attending a school where she would have been obliged to follow the typical curriculum for young ladies of her class. Living a sheltered live among her mother's circle of friends, Lovelace was better educated through governesses, tutors, and later, independent study." (Nilson, 84) One of her tutors was Dr. William King, the family physician. He was not fond of mathematics but was instructed to "operate" on Lovelace's thirteen-year-old brain. After his services were no longer needed, Lovelace continued contact with Dr. King by way of letters, which proposed mathematical problems and equations. She searched for more in-depth mathematical knowledge that Dr. King did not possess. She read many mathematical books that she could find, including Dionysius Lardner's Euclid and Vince's Place and Spherical Trigonometry. Another one of her tutors had been William Frend, who introduced her to Augustus De Morgan, a famous mathematician. De Morgan taught her advanced mathematics, the equivalency to men studying at Cambridge University. In the words of De Morgan she, "would have been an original mathematical investigator, perhaps of first rate eminence but not, he suggested, is she had gone to the university (had it admitted women then), where the system would have demanded sacrifice and originality" (Baum, 20).

On May 10, 1833, Lovelace began venturing out into the world of adults. At this time, she attended parties and balls with a desire to meet other people who shared her love of mathematics, music, riding horses and anything else that was new and interesting. Lovelace wanted to meet Mary Somerville, the famous female mathematician who had just published "The Mechanism of the Heavens," a book on mathematical astronomy. Mrs. Somerville was Lovelace's hero, and later, she became a good friend and a tutor. It was at a party that Lovelace met Charles Babbage, the famous inventor of the ophthalmoscope and the speedometer. Babbage and Lovelace became close friends and found "a constant intellectual companion in whom she found a match for her powerful understanding" (Perl, 131). It was...
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