The life of Ada Lovelace

Ada Countess of Lovelace 1815 - 52

Ada Countess of Lovelace was born Ada Gordon in 1815. She was the only child of the poet Lord Byron and mathematician Anabella Millbanke.

Ada’s parents’ marriage was tempestuous and, fearing that her daughter would inherit her father’s volatile ‘poetic’ temperament, Ada’s mother was determined that she should have a good grounding in mathematics, science and logic.

From an early age, Ada seems to have been naturally interested in machines -- at a time when the Industrial Revolution was flourishing in Britain.

When Ada was 18, she was introduced to Charles Babbage, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. They became lifelong friends, sharing similar passions, and Babbage came to call Ada The Enchantress of Numbers.

Ada became fascinated by Babbage’s plans for a hugely intricate and complex mechanical Analytical Engine, an early type of computer which was based on his earlier Difference Engine.

The Analytical Engine was never actually built, but its computer-like design fascinated Ada and she wrote what are considered to be the first computer algorithms for the machine.

Ada died in 1852 at the age of 36, leaving three children from her marriage to William King, the Earl of Lovelace.

Ada’s correspondence with Charles Babbage has become legendary today she is a powerful symbol for women working in technology.

"Ada Lovelace portrait" by Alfred Edward Chalon - Science & Society Picture Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -