Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer

by Emily Arnold McCully

Beginning in infancy, Ada Byron’s life often fell outside societal norms of... read more

Beginning in infancy, Ada Byron’s life often fell outside societal norms of the time. Her mother left the poet Lord Byron, Ada’s father, when their daughter was one month old, and later manipulated Ada’s perception of her father and their relationship with an iron hand. Lady Byron provided Ada with an atypical education, employing private educators and often overseeing her daughter’s efforts from afar while focusing on her own charitable projects. Only 17 when she first met Charles Babbage, Ada relished their shared interests in algebra and calculus, and her eventual essay notes explaining his early mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine, demonstrated her prescience in recognizing its potential. Challenged in personal life by her controlling mother and a distant relationship with her ineffectual husband, Ada Byron Lovelace also suffered from devastating chronic illness yet continued to contribute to the intellectual achievements of her era until her death at age 36. Extensive source notes, biographical sketches of the primary people in Ada’s life, a summary of her notes in “Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage,” a glossary, and bibliography round out a compelling biography that is short on visual elements but has a fascinating woman as its subject. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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