Texts and contexts: the cultural legacies of Ada Lovelace
“That brain of mine is more than merely mortal; as time will show.”
A workshop for graduate students and early career researchers
Tuesday 8 December 2015
Mathematics Institute and St Anne’s College, Oxford
The mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of poet Lord Byron, is celebrated as a pioneer of computer science. The notes she added to her translation of Luigi Menabrea’s paper on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine (1843) are considered to contain a prototype computer program. During her short life, Lovelace not only contributed original ideas to the plans for this early computer; she also imagined wider possibilities for the engine, such as its application to music, and meditated on its limitations. Lovelace leaves a legacy not just as a computer scientist, but also as a muse for literary writers, a model to help us understand the role of women in science in the nineteenth century, and an inspiration for neo-Victorian and steampunk traditions.
As part of the University of Oxford’s celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Lovelace’s birth, … Read more