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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finding Ada

Today is Ada Lovelace Day!
Ada Lovelace Day is an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

But, exactly who is, or was, Ada Lovelace? In the 1830s Charles Babbage came up with the idea of an "Analytical Engine," which became the forerunner to the computer. It was Ada who refined that idea and wrote and published programs for the device. A brief biography can be found here.

Not many people, however, have heard of Ada Lovelace. Nor have they heard of scores of other "smart" women from the past. However, with Ada Lovelace Day, and women now being acknowledged for their intellectual capabilities, perhaps Ada Lovelace will become a name instantly recognized in the future.

One of the books that celebrates the accomplishments of women is Patently Female: From AZT to TV dinners: Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas by Ethlie Ann Vare [609 VAR].

Painting courtesy The National Archives.

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