The partnership between Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage was perhaps the true birth of computer science - he invented the hardware. While Charles Babbage is remembered as the inventor of the world's first courted, but the daughter he left behind after a year of marriage in was the influence and advice of one Countess Ada Lovelace, nee Byron. Ada Lovelace, daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, is considered the world's first Shortly after her birth, her parents' marriage is already over. Ada Lovelace's later friendship with mathematician Charles Babbage, whom she meets . What advice would you give young women considering science as a career path?.
Ada's mother ensured that she was given an education with the best tutors. The famous logician Augustus De Morgan with whom Ada took classes, had a decisive influence on Ada Lovelace's later main work, the "Notes". She also met the mathematician Charles Babbage, an inventor of computational machines. Inhe gave a lecture on his latest invention, the Analytical Engine. The Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea wrote a report of this talk in French. Ada Lovelace translated this article into English with the help of Charles Babbage and supplemented it with her own comments.
Her notes show that Ada saw the potentials for a computer in the Analytical Engine. Her fame is largely based on this work. Ada also received support from her husband, William King. He copied articles for her in libraries because as a woman she was not allowed to go to libraries. How important are Ada Lovelace contributions to computer science today?
If Ada had not written the first computer programme, someone else would have done it. The significance of her work lies in the fact that she was the first to do so - a century before the invention of the computer. Nowadays, of course, her program does not have any practical applications. Obviously, much has improved for women in science since the 18th Century. In your view and your experience, what do you regard as changes that have happened in terms of women in science?
The role of women is by no means so rigidly defined as in the nineteenth century. On paper at least, women have the same rights as men. However, there are still inequalities, for example with regard to pay. Compared to male colleagues, women often receive significantly less money for their work. Nevertheless, despite many positive changes, the number of women in STEM disciplines is still lower than the number of men in these fields.
What do see as contributing factors to this discrepancy? For example, continuing cultural bias, gender stereotyping, 'math and science are not for women'; lack of female role models etc. I also feel there are quite a few role models available.
Ada Lovelace and the first computer programme in the world | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
I think one factor for the discrepancy is the incompatibility of combining a family with a scientific career, although in recent years and decades a lot of programmes have been created to improve this situation. What do you think is necessary in order for more girls to get involved in STEM disciplines, so that more women will pick up and remain in STEM professions? Employers must ensure the compatibility of scientific careers with the founding of a Family.
Also, working conditions for scientists are often not as good as those for jobs in industry. Especially for women scientists with a family, offers for childcare are indispensable.
It would also be desirable to make temporary employment contracts permanent at a much earlier stage, and to create more jobs. This would provide planning certainty, which would make a scientific career much more attractive.Computer Science's Wonder Woman: Ada Lovelace - Computerphile
Do you consider mentor programs useful? Basically, I think they are very useful. But in my opinion they should be offered to both women and men. I see it as quite problematic that men are excluded from certain funding programs because of their gender.
What role models do you see for women in science? Everyone can choose their own role model. Today, there are certainly many successful female scientists in every discipline who could serve as models. What advice would you give young women considering science as a career path?
That they should certainly try and go for it! Her primary research interests lie in the fields of global differential geometry and their interaction with topology, analysis, and complex geometry. She is said to have replied that the idea had never occurred to her, and so he then suggested that she write some "notes" explicating parts that Menabrea had left vague or that had since been superseded by new developments. Dozens of letters and drafts flew back and forth between them, and personal meetings were frequent.
It seems that most of the key ideas, though not all, had appeared earlier in Babbage's own notes and letters. For instance, although Babbage reports that the decision to develop a "program" by which the Engine could calculate Bernoulli numbers -- the centerpiece of the Notes -- was Lovelace's, there are at least two earlier letters in which Babbage specifically mentioned using the Bernoulli numbers to test the machine's capabilities see Collierp. However, she had first learned about Bernoulli numbers only a few months before, in November ofand she described them to him at the time as an "amazing quagmire and botheration.
One other highlight of the Notes, however -- the suggestion that the machine might compose music if only musical composition could be rendered into algorithmic form -- seems to have been original to Lovelace. As always, Lovelace was highly impressed with her own work, and was not shy about detailing its, and her own, virtues to Babbage: I cannot refrain from expressing my amazement at my own child [her Notes]. I am quite thunder-stuck at the power of the writing.
And later in the same letter: She became testy, and even downright imperious. On July 19 she admonished Babbage for having made corrections to an out-of-date draft. I must now explain one or two things.
I am much annoyed at your having altered my Note. You know I am always willing to make any required alterations myself, but that I cannot endure another person to meddle with my sentences. I should be decidedly inclined to swear at you. Babbage wanted to attach an anonymous preface to the translation and Notes, explaining the history of his inability to obtain additional government funding for the Engine.
Babbage asked Ada to withdraw the translation and Notes. On August 14 she wrote to him a long letter worthy of her always-litigious mother, Lady Byron, in which she went so far as to make the continuance of their collaboration contingent on three conditions.
The astonishing haughtiness of the passage in question makes it well worth quoting in full: That there should have been any continuation of their relationship is astounding enough. But Ada and Babbage met a day or two later. After the meeting Babbage wrote at the top of the letter containing her demands: Some have suggested that she was simply mad, and to be sure, her behavior and beliefs were sometimes erratic.
I find the hypothesis that she was simply "pulling rank" on Babbage far more compelling, however, especially given that she had learned "noble behavior" at the hem of her mother, Lady Byron, who was notorious for snubbing and bullying people -- sometimes people she had known for years -- if they dared not to conform her wishes. And in any case, the "insanity defense" wouldn't explain Babbage's handling of Ada in return. Babbage is well known for not having suffered fools gladly.
Why didn't he simply break off the relationship? What was she to him? Lovelace's connection to the levers of power, via her noble status, was something to be treated with great delicacy. Like Wheatstone, Babbage must have seen in her the possibility of bypassing the parliamentarians who now regarded him as something of a "crank" and appealing directly to the Royal family. The plan, if it ever indeed was a plan, never worked of course.
First of all, it is not clear that the Lovelaces' connection to Victoria and Albert was ever so close that they could have wielded the degree of influence necessary. Ada's husband, just Lord King at the time of their marriage, had been raised to Earl of Lovelace by Victoria in the first year of her reign, but they were by no means part of the Queen's "inner circle.
Ada Lovelace and the first computer programme in the world
Surely nearly every member of the Royal Society, many of whom were also nobles, would have been more likely candidates. If this were the plan, however, it would certainly call into question Babbage's claim that he knew nothing of the translation until it was finished. Are we to believe that Wheatstone attempted to make all these arrangements concerning his friend's most dear aspirations behind his back?
To conclude, I have suggested that Ada Lovelace's outburst near the time of the publication of her translation and Notes of Menabrea's article on the Analytical Engine was in part justified, at least in her own mind, by her superior social status to Babbage, despite her obviously being much junior to him in both age and scholarly accomplishment. In addition, I have argued that regardless of Lovelace's motives, Babbage's very measured reaction to her challenge is best explained in terms of the difference in their social classes, and the things he thought she might be able to gain for him in virtue of her social position.
Much of this is necessarily speculative, but it is my hope that this attention to class issues has shed new light on the complicated relationship that held between these two fascinating people.
References Ashworth, William J. Baily, Herscel, Babbage and the business of astronomy. British Journal of the History of Science, 27, On the mathematical powers of the calculating engine. In Martin Campbell-Kelly Ed. New York University Press. Passages from the life of a philosopher.
Original work published Collier, Bruce. The little engines that could've: The calculating machines of Charles Babbage. Lady Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Annals of the History of Computing, 2, Foundations of mathematics in France and England, Science in Context, 4,