Enchantress of Numbers

Ada Lovelace

By: Olivia Cao and Rebecca Thomas

Years/Time Frame

Ada Lovelace, daughter of a famous poet, Lord Byron, was born on December 10, 1815 in London. Soon after Lovelace's birth, her father and mother separated and Ada had never got to meet her father. Ada's mother, Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, provided Ada with tutors that taught her math and science, which was unusual for a woman to learn at the time. Ada began to show a gift for numbers and language in her early years. She became proficient in her studies because of her teachers: William Frend, who was a psychologist, William King, who was the family's doctor, and Mary Somerville, who was a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. At roughly 17, Ada became friends with Charles Babbage, an inventor, who served as an advisor. Through Babbage, Ada began to learn advanced math with professor Augustus de Morgan who attended the University of London. Ada was given the opportunity to study Babbage's invention, the difference engine, and was very impressed. Soon after, she analyzed an article on the analytical engine, which is also another invention from Babbage, and gave her own opinions, notes, topics about computer memory, writing programs, and using the invention. Since she introduced lots of computer concepts, she is arguably the first computer programmer. She soon died on November 27, 1852 because of uterine cancer, living a life span of 37 years.

Other Significant Historical People

Charles Babbage:
Mathematician, scientist, and inventor of the Difference Engine as well as the analytical engine. Also a friend of Ada Lovelace.

James Prescott:
English physicist who found out how to use heat with a mechanical device and decided a law which described how fast heat is made by an electric current.

Louis Pasteur:
French chemist and microbiologist who created a way to pasteurize.

John Tyndall:
Irish physicist who founded the Tyndall Effect which describes molecules and dust causing diffusion of light.

Rudolph Julius Emanuel Clausius:
German math physicist who fixed the second law of thermodynamics and renamed it entropy.

The First Computer Program

Ada Lovelace translated an article on the Analytical Engine and gave her own notes, topics about computer memory, writing programs, using the machine and advice to Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Analytical Engine. She included a descriptive explanation on how the engine could compute Bernoulli Numbers. This was considered to be the first computer program which makes her arguably the first computer programmer. Ada introduced computer programming and because of her, the computers we have today can function like they do which changed the face of the computer.


"Ada Lovelace". Bio. True Story. November 12, 2013 <http://www.biography.com>

"Ada Lovelace". Brain Pop. November 12, 2013 <http://www.brainpop.com>

"Ada Lovelace". The Babbage Engine. November 3, 2013 <www.computerhistory.org>

"James Prescott Joule". Famous Scientists. November 12, 2013 <http://www.3rd1000.com>