The year was 1842 and a brilliant, bright mathematician known as Ada Lovelace wrote and published what is now known as the first-ever computer program. In this, Lovelace acknowledged machines and their potential to achieve far more, well, than people at the time could ever fathom. Oh yeah, and did we mention she created the first-ever computer program in her twenties? In our twenties… we were certainly not creating computer programs. But there’s a lot more to know about Ada Lovelace and we’re here to enlighten you, so let’s get started.
(image via: wikipedia)
Ada’s father was Lord Byron, and as some of you may know already, the man was quite the womanizer and passed away when Ada was only 8. Fearing that Ada would exhibit erratic behavior that mimicked her father, Ada’s mother, Lady Byron, quite the mathematician herself, decided it would be beneficial for her daughter to immerse herself in academics, and from the age of 4, Ada was tutored in math and science. Now, mind you, this was 19th century England, so the idea of a woman studying these things was rare, to say the least.
Oftentimes we have a preconceived notion that a person who excels academically may be shy, even awkward, but this couldn’t have been farther from the truth when it came to Ada. In fact, at the age of 19, she married William, 8th Baron King, becoming Lady King. He was later made Earl of Lovelace, hence Ada’s better-known name. The two lived a good life, gave birth to and raised three kids, and enjoyed a life spent rubbing elbows with some of the brightest minds.
(image via: look far)
During the 1840s Ada developed a bit of a gambling problem, so much so that her already dwindling finances got so low that she had to pawn family diamonds for money. Ada thought she and a friend had developed a program that would predict horserace results, but, as it turns out, she did not.
Lovelace never knew her father, but she remained fascinated by him her entire life. So much so that when she passed away, she was buried by him. Both passed away at the young age of 36.
Like so many scholars and artists, Lovelace’s accomplishments weren’t recognized until a century after her time, but this was mostly so that technology could catch up with her. It wasn’t until the 1950s, at the dawn of the digital age, that Lovelace began to gain followers.