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Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815­–52), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and the highly educated Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer, and she has become an icon for women in technology today. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal schooling or university education, acquire the knowledge and exper Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815­–52), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and the highly educated Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer, and she has become an icon for women in technology today. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal schooling or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science?             Although it was an unusual pursuit for women at the time, Ada Lovelace studied science and mathematics from a young age. This book uses previously unpublished archival material to explore her precocious childhood—from her curiosity about the science of rainbows to her design for a steam-powered flying horse—as well as her ambitious young adulthood. Active in Victorian London’s social and scientific elite alongside Mary Somerville, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens, Ada Lovelace became fascinated by the computing machines of Charles Babbage, whose ambitious, unbuilt invention known as the “Analytical Engine” inspired Lovelace to devise a table of mathematical formulae which many now refer to as the “first program.”             Ada Lovelace died at just thirty-six, but her work strikes a chord to this day, offering clear explanations of the principles of computing, and exploring ideas about computer music and artificial intelligence that have been realized in modern digital computers. Featuring detailed illustrations of the “first program” alongside mathematical models, correspondence, and contemporary images, this book shows how Ada Lovelace, with astonishing prescience, first investigated the key mathematical questions behind the principles of modern computing.


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Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815­–52), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and the highly educated Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer, and she has become an icon for women in technology today. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal schooling or university education, acquire the knowledge and exper Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815­–52), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and the highly educated Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer, and she has become an icon for women in technology today. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal schooling or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science?             Although it was an unusual pursuit for women at the time, Ada Lovelace studied science and mathematics from a young age. This book uses previously unpublished archival material to explore her precocious childhood—from her curiosity about the science of rainbows to her design for a steam-powered flying horse—as well as her ambitious young adulthood. Active in Victorian London’s social and scientific elite alongside Mary Somerville, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens, Ada Lovelace became fascinated by the computing machines of Charles Babbage, whose ambitious, unbuilt invention known as the “Analytical Engine” inspired Lovelace to devise a table of mathematical formulae which many now refer to as the “first program.”             Ada Lovelace died at just thirty-six, but her work strikes a chord to this day, offering clear explanations of the principles of computing, and exploring ideas about computer music and artificial intelligence that have been realized in modern digital computers. Featuring detailed illustrations of the “first program” alongside mathematical models, correspondence, and contemporary images, this book shows how Ada Lovelace, with astonishing prescience, first investigated the key mathematical questions behind the principles of modern computing.

30 review for Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clelixedda

    An absolutely fantastic book about Ada Lovelace and her mathematical work. While reading it, I had the feeling that the chosen images (of her, her work, her tutors or just contemporary pictures) as well as the chosen citations almost brought her back to life. My only criticism would be that it is too short.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    Remarkably clear and readable explanation of Ada Lovelace's mathematical training and achievements with Charles Babbage and others. Sumptuously illustrated, with 59 illustrations, many extracts from Ada's own manuscripts. Highly recommended to all interested in computer science, the history of mathematics and science, Victorian technology, and Byron and his circle. Of interest to both specialists in the field and general readers, and suitable for all. Remarkably clear and readable explanation of Ada Lovelace's mathematical training and achievements with Charles Babbage and others. Sumptuously illustrated, with 59 illustrations, many extracts from Ada's own manuscripts. Highly recommended to all interested in computer science, the history of mathematics and science, Victorian technology, and Byron and his circle. Of interest to both specialists in the field and general readers, and suitable for all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kirk Shimano

    I found this book to be a fantastic collection of primary sources...and also a bit of a dull read. I felt that the authors were too afraid to make any statement that couldn't be explicitly backed up by a factual statement, so while we get a view into Ada Lovelace's history and work (which is, in itself, very interesting), we get only the slightly glimpse of Ada Lovelace as a person. It's like reading a collection of museum placards at a very well curated exhibit, without any of the human connectio I found this book to be a fantastic collection of primary sources...and also a bit of a dull read. I felt that the authors were too afraid to make any statement that couldn't be explicitly backed up by a factual statement, so while we get a view into Ada Lovelace's history and work (which is, in itself, very interesting), we get only the slightly glimpse of Ada Lovelace as a person. It's like reading a collection of museum placards at a very well curated exhibit, without any of the human connection of the objects on display to observe. I'd still recommend this book for its collection of documents for someone looking to learn more about Ada Lovelace, but I think James Essinger's "Ada's Alogrithm" was a much more compelling look into her life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Written by three mathematicians, this is a short, accessible biography of Ada Lovelace and her mathematical achievements, with a lot of scans of her notes, letters, and other sources. My only wish is that it was longer and that they had collaborated with a historian so that it could have had more about her as a whole person rather than just a mathematician.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    510.92 L898h 2018

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Dee

    I've read a lot of biographies of Ada and this is my favourite so far I've read a lot of biographies of Ada and this is my favourite so far

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Smallish book but very informative with excellent illustrations, photographs and scans of letters and diagrams. Really brings Ada’s forensic mind to the fore. Well worth a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ángel Meléndez

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Schneider

  11. 5 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melvin Zhang

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt Pohlman

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pink_flamenco

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Muzzey

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jo N

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zahro

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bee Lavender

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann Marie Stephenson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin Carter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rory Braybrook

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