How Lovelace Influences Our Lives

Serena Lawrence, Journalist

Ada Lovelace, otherwise known as Augusta Ada Byron, was the daughter of  Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron and the famous poet Lord Byron who was one of the best British poets and was great at the English language. In England, during the 19th century, he was one of the main figures in the Romantic Movement. Her parents were not happy together, and divorced after she was born on December 10, 1815. Soon after, her father left England. 

In the time she lived in, it was not common for women to study challenging subjects but her mother thought that if she took part in such activities, it would prevent her from getting her father’s moody and unpredictable temperament. So, she took up studies such as mathematics and science. She also practiced working on her self control. 

Later, she was admitted into the Royal Astronomical Society. There at the age of 17, she met a mathematician and inventor named Charles Babbage. They became close and she saw him as a mentor. He invented the difference engine in the computer used to perform different mathematical calculations and the analytical engine made to perform more complex calculations. She was fascinated by this. 

Later she was asked to translate an article on the analytical engine, by an Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea, for publication in England. She not only did this but added her thoughts and ideas, which were much longer than the original article. Her work was later published in an English science journal. She talked about how people could create codes for the device to make letters, symbols, and numbers. She also came up with a method so the engine could repeat instructions, which is now known as looping. She came up with a lot more brilliant concepts shown in the article. Because of this, she was known as the first computer programer. 

In 1835, Lovelace married William King, who supported her love for academics. They then had 3 kids together. In 1837, her health suffered due to cholera, a bacterial disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, usually spread in water. Her personality began to change and she suffered from constant mood swings and hallucinations. She also had asthma and problems with her digestive system.She died on November 27, 1852. 

Lovelace’s contributions were not discovered until the 1950’s. B.V. Bowden later reintroduced her work into the world in 1953. Since then, she received many posthumous honors for her work. In 1980, the U.S. The Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language “Ada,” after Lovelace and and there is even a day in October, called Ada Lovelace Day, where people celebrate all the contributions women brought to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Lovelace is now seen as an idol for modern women who work in engineering.



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