Today is Ada Lovelace Day

Today is Ada Lovelace Day

Who? Augusta Ada King (nee Byron), Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), was an English mathematician and the brains behind Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. This Enchantress of Numbers is considered (by some) as the first computer programmer.

Why? The goal is to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. Psychologist Penelope Lockwood says, “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”

How? Just follow these simple steps to become a part of the worldwide celebration of women in STEM: Write about a woman in science, technology, engineering or maths whose achievements you admire. Publish your story online at and here on G+, tagged #adalovelaceday .

#stemwomen #scienceeveryday #adalovelaceday  

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44 Responses to Today is Ada Lovelace Day

  1. Jake Doidge says:

    this lady was what inspired me to become a programmer.! anyone who hasn’t seen the analytical engine i strongly suggest YouTube it there is a working replica and its just amazing!!

  2. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks for the link, Oliver Thewalt . I look forward to reading it!

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    Another read, awesome, thanks Oliver.

    Did not know there was a replica on YouTube..I’ll look for a link, Jake Doidge .

  4. Unfortunately, it seems the “first computer programmer” claim is unfounded. The program was written by Babbage and published under her name.

    She was kind of delusional woman with limited knowledge of mathematics.

    I would rather chose this woman, who deserves much more than Mrs Lovelace:

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    The fifth delete of your comment will also be a block Abhilash Payasi .

  6. Jake Doidge says:

    here’s also his difference engine A demo of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine

    just amazing stuff really

  7. You wait for 5 delete ! I do it after 2 only !

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    Watching now, thanks Jake Doidge 🙂

  9. Jake Doidge says:

    Rajini Rao welcome Babbage made some amazing things  but the key to all all was the woman behind him 😀

    Analytical Engine – Charles Babbage

  10. Rajini Rao says:

    I am in awe of the human brain (male and female!). To design such a “living sculpture” that solves a fifth order polynomial :O

    It’s a well made video, highly recommended watch. Humorous anecdotes too..

  11. In addition, if by program we mean a set of recorded instruction written to accomplish a task, the first program was from Joseph Marie Jacquard who, btw, invented as well the punched card. These punched cards were used for silk looms in Lyon.

    So, I repeat, Mrs Lovelace was NOT the one who wrote these so-called program. And she did not invented computer programming.

  12. mahek abbas says:

    yup ..cheers to women..not only these great ones bt all over d world who are fighting different problems in their lives yet donot get any honour…yaa it is strange bt true

  13. Jake Doidge says:

    its nice to see im not the only one who respects the knowledge and skill that goes into this field 😀

  14. “The brains behind Charles Babbage’s analytical engine” is way over the top; it will have the poor man turning in his grave. He was the brains behind both engines, not Ada. If he had not had to contend with dimwitted governments, a saga that his friend Charles Dickens pilloried in a Little Dorrit in a chapter headed House of Circumlocution ( ), he would built both the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine, and IBM might have stood for Imperial Babbage Machines, and computing would be a hundred years further down the track.

  15. Jake Doidge says:

    Olivier Malinur your right in the sense she didn’t write the first program. But i think you will find she was the first Computer programer as in an electronic device NOT mechanical.

  16. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ll let you programming experts fight it out 🙂

  17. Jake Doidge says:

    lol I teach Cert4 I.T. at TAFE, this is all covered in the first week of school. I’m not here to fight, but i am happy to see the interest from all these people 😀

  18. Jake Doidge says:

    if ya got an hr to kill heres something i show my students (1of5) The Machine that Changed the World: Giant Brains. 1992 Documentary great stuff 😀

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    I’m here to learn, so keep the comments coming!

    I found this to be an unbiased yet approachable evaluation of her contribution:

  20. Rajini Rao says:

    Would love to see it, Feisal Kamil . Add the #adalovelaceday tag so it can be reshared. I’d like to write something up on the woman who was my postdoctoral advisor, Carolyn Slayman. I hope I find the time to do a good job of it (so she approves!) 🙂

  21. Amir Salkić says:

    Lord Byron’s daughter.

    Is thy face like thy mother’s, my fair child!

    Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?

    When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smil’d,

    And then we parted–not as now we part,

    But with a hope.–Awaking with a start,

    The waters heave around me; and on high

    The winds lift up their voices: I depart,

    Whither I know not; but the hour’s gone by,

    When Albion’s lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.

    Some of the lines from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage dedicated to her.

  22. Rajini Rao says:

    The Byron connection delights the literary soul in me, thanks for sharing those lines Amir Salkić 🙂

  23. Amir Salkić says:

    Rajini Rao My pleasure.

  24. I think her greatest achievement was in being the first to recognize that computers could be used for more than just mathematical calculations: that the numbers they operate upon could be used to stand in for letters, symbols, musical notes, et cetera.

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    Well said, Mat Sutcliffe . That’s what my non-programmer mind understood from what I’ve read. 

  26. “Sketch of the Analytical Engine” by L. F. Menabrea, translated and 

    with extensive commentary by Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace. 

    This 1842 document is the definitive exposition of the Analytical 

    Engine, which described many aspects of computer architecture and 

    programming more than a hundred years before they were “discovered” 

    in the twentieth century. If you have ever doubted, even for a 

    nanosecond, that Lady Ada was, indeed, the First Hacker, 

    perusal of this document will demonstrate her primacy beyond a shadow 

    of a doubt.”

    And here it is:

    Citation from

  27. Cheers for this. My daughter didn’t know who Ada Lovelace was. There was edumacation.

  28. Rajini Rao says:

    Kryptyk Physh   Awesome! Mission accomplished 🙂

  29. Sorry, the lady that wins that for me is still Ruby. 😉

  30. Pamela Wang says:

    Ada Byron Countess of Lovelace 1815 to 1852

    Ada Byron’s education and nobility uniquely allowed her to participate in a largely male dominated field. Obviously she understood her subject matter well in order to translate Menabrea’s account of the Analytical Engine from French to English; the document that captured the imagination of many then and in times to come.

  31. Kevin Clift says:

    You may like what Daniel Estrada said:

  32. I was reading Ed Yong’s write up when I saw your post Rajini Rao . Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring!

  33. Kevin Clift says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Amalie Emmy Noether.  She was a brilliant German mathematician who was temporarily distracted from her work in developing the foundations of modern abstract algebra by the exciting attempts to complete the theory of relativity.  After helping Einstein and colleagues in Göttingen she went back to Pure Maths. A lot of the famous work that people have heard about in modern physics is derivative of her thinking and yet she is not well known. NYT and more Mathematically:

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks, Kevin Clift . Noether’s mention brings to mind the STEM women post from last International Women’s Day which had wonderful comments on her (Noether) and many more.

    Shortly after, Buddhini Samarasinghe organized the STEM Women on G+ page. So your comments and nominations are not only educational and interesting, but they also have a direct impact on G+ community. Thanks! 

  35. D A Vincent says:

    Thanks Rajini, I almost forgot.  

  36. Olga Garcia says:

    Vic Gundotra and Natalie Villalobos I thought you two might love this! Look at how much #STEMwomen  are getting some love today. It’s so exciting to see this grow. 

  37. Rajini Rao says:

    Excellent commentary, Oliver Thewalt , thank you!

    I am reminded of my wise PhD mentor who advised me to remove a claim of “first” in a manuscript that I was writing. He said that statements such as these always invoke a challenge, and it is far better for the reader to arrive at a (well-led) conclusion of novelty than for us to point it out. Good advice that I’ve tried to hand down to my students, in turn. 

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    I could not say it better. 

    In any case, the further one pushes, the more obvious it becomes how little we know of the world around us! Yet, it’s exciting to be a small part of the discovery process and interesting to think on this giant human endeavor that we are all part of 🙂

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