Monday, December 10, 2007

Lord Byron's brilliant daughter

Today according to Australian Eastern   Standard Time when this item was posted
1815 Augusta Ada Byron (Ada Lovelace or Ada Byron King, later Countess of Lovelace; d. November 27, 1852), mathematician, developer of one of the first mechanical computers; by her own account, an aspirant of being "an analyst and a metaphysician".

Ada Lovelace, as she is commonly known, was the daughter of Lord Byron (1788 - 1824), the great English poet, but when she was a month old he separated from Ada's mother, Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who raised her, and the poet never saw his daughter again.

Lady Byron herself had an aptitude for mathematics, and Lord Byron had called his future wife "the Princess of Parallelograms". One of Anne's aims was to ensure that the girl would not grow up to be a poet like her celebrated father. One of Ada's tutors was Augustus De Morgan (1806 - '71) the Indian-born British mathematician and logician. In 1834, when Ada was eighteen years old, she met Mary Somerville, who sent young Ada mathematics books and talked to her young protégée about the subject.

Ada suggested to her friend Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871), whom she had met in 1833 when she was just 17 years old, and been fascinated with his invention, that he should write a plan for how his analytical engine might calculate Johann Bernoulli numbers ...

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