The Scientific Life of Ada Lovelace

Some say that she is the mother of Computing, to others she's a historical curiosity, Ursula Martin unpicks the life of Ada Lovelace. Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was born Ada Byron on 10 December 1815, and died, after a long and painful illness, in 1852. The daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and his wife Annabella (nee Milbanke), she married in 1833 William King, who was created Earl of Lovelace in 1838.

Ada Lovelace is famous for a paper published in 1843, which translated and considerably extended a work by Luigi Menabrea about a general-purpose computer designed by Charles Babbage, his unbuilt analytical engine. The substantial appendices written by Ada Lovelace contain an account of the principles of the machine, and a table displaying how it might compute the Bernoulli numbers, often described as "the first computer programme".

Ursula Martin is currently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. She holds an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship. Prior to this she held a chair of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. (from

The Scientific Life of Ada Lovelace

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