Wednesday’s Wise Woman
Yesterday we celebrated Ada Lovelace day; an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Augusta Ada King , Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) was born Augusta Ada Byron commonly known as Ada Lovelace. She was an English mathematician and writer famously known for her contribution to Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose-computer; the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. As a result she is often described as the world’s first computer programmer.
I have read a little about her and it is not clear how it was that she become so interested in mathematics and for it to go on to dominate her adult life and then for her to make such a mark in history.
It would appear that as girl she suffered prolonged illness and when education for girls was not considered necessary.
I came a across a book that perhaps would have been on the school room shelf in the 19th century called The young lady’s book : a manual of elegant recreations, arts, sciences and accomplishments edited by distinguished professors; published 1859. perhaps read by Ada’s daughters.
The preface states that “The work was first published nearly twenty years ago, with about half of its present number of woodcuts, at one guinea … even at that high price,six editions in as many years were published. Since then it has been allowed to remain out of print .
While it lists geology, mineralogy, conchology, entomology. ornithology, music, painting, embroidery, dancing, archery, moral deportment, botany, toilet and costume, escritoire, riding and photography; mathematics and physics were not mentioned.