Ada Lovelace

Worlds First Computer programmer

Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) is often referred to as the world’s first computer programmer. The daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, and the admired intellect, Annabella Milbanke, Ada Lovelace represented the meeting of two alternative worlds: the romanticism and art of her father versus the rationality and science of her mother. In her attempt to draw together these polar opposites and create a ‘poetical science’ during the Victorian age, Ada collaborated with the renowned mathematician and inventor, Charles Babbage.

Ada Lovelace Biography

Click here to find more out about Ada Lovelaces' biography which includes: Synopsis, Early Years, Babbage and the Analytical Engine, Personal Life and Legacy.
Science in Seconds - Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day

Wednesday, Oct. 1st, 12-12am

This is an online event.

Tuesday 14 October 2014 is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

If you happen to do anything other than sleep in a cave today, chances are you have Ada Lovelace to thank for it. She is responsible for the first ever computer program. And she came up with it long before the computer even existed.

Let’s travel back through time for a moment. Before the ZX Spectrum and before the Atari 2600, there was a thing that historians like to call the 19th century. The computer may have existed as a concept in the 1800s, but it had yet to materialise into something tangible.

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Born: December 10, 1815, London

Died: November 27, 1852, Marylebone

Nationality: British

Education: University of London

Parents: George Gordon Byron and Baroness Anne Isabella Byron

Children: (Daughter) Anne Blunt- 15th Baroness Wentworth, (Son) Byron King-Noel, Viscount Ockham and (Son) Ralph King-Milbanke, 2nd Earl of Lovelace

Spouse: William Kind-Noel, 1st Earl of Lovelace (m. 1835-1852)

Charles Babbage

Babbage was a British mathematician, an original and innovative thinker and a pioneer of computing.

Charles Babbage was born on 26 December 1791, probably in London, the son of a banker. He was often unwell as a child and was educated mainly at home. By the time he went to Cambridge University in 1810 he was very interested in mathematics.

After graduation Babbage was hired by the Royal Institution to lecture on calculus. Within two years he had been elected a member of the Royal Society and, with his Cambridge friends, was instrumental in setting up the Astronomical Society in 1820, the first to challenge the dominance of the Royal Society. From 1828 to 1839, Babbage was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.

The 1820s saw Babbage work on his 'Difference Engine', a machine which could perform mathematical calculations. A six-wheeled model was initially constructed and demonstrated to a number of audiences. He then developed plans for a bigger, better, machine - Difference Engine 2. He also worked on another invention, the more complex Analytical Engine, a revolutionary device on which his fame as a computer pioneer now largely rests. It was intended to be able to perform any arithmetical calculation using punched cards that would deliver the instructions, as well as a memory unit to store numbers and many other fundamental components of today's computers. The remarkable British mathematician Ada Lovelace completed a program for the Analytical Engine but neither it, nor Difference Engine 2, were finished in Babbage's lifetime.

Babbage also worked in the fields of philosophy and code-breaking, as well as campaigning for reform in British science. He died at his home in London on 18 October 1871.

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Charles Babbage

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Charles Babbage, FRS was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer.

Born: December 26, 1791, Teignmouth

  • Died: October 18, 1871, Marylebone

    Spouse: Georgiana Whitmore (m. 1814–1827)

  • Children: Benjamin Herschel Babbage, Georgiana Whitmore, Charles Whitmore Babbage, Henry Prevost, Francis Moore Babbage, Alexander Forbes Babbage, Edward Stewart Babbage, Dugald Bromhead

    Education: University of Cambridge, Peterhouse, Cambridge, Trinity College, Cambridge

    Awards: Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society