There is a saying 'the writing is on the wall'.
What you are not always told is that the Hand
that writes on the wall uses a
language of symbol and metaphor
that only your heart can understand.
And so your unique journey of revelation starts.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; 10
December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was an English mathematician and writer,
chiefly known for her work on 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 carried out by
a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.
Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the poet
George Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke ("Annabella"),
Lady Wentworth. All Byron's other
children were born out of wedlock to other women. Byron separated from his wife
a month after Ada was born and left England forever four months later,
eventually dying of disease in the Greek War of Independence when Ada was eight
years old. Her mother remained bitter towards Lord Byron and promoted Ada's
interest in mathematics and logic in an effort to prevent her from developing
what she saw as the insanity seen in her father, but Ada remained interested in
him despite this (and was, upon her eventual death, buried next to him at her
request). Often ill, she spent most of her childhood sick. Ada married William
Lord King in 1835. King was made Earl of Lovelace in 1838, and she became Lady
Her educational and social exploits brought her into contact
with scientists such as Andrew Crosse, Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone,
Michael Faraday and the author Charles Dickens, in which she used to further
her education. Ada described her approach as "poetical science" and
herself as an "Analyst (& Metaphysician)"
As a teenager, her mathematical talents led her to an
ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician
Charles Babbage, also known as 'the father of computers', and in particular,
Babbage's work on the Analytical Engine. Lovelace first met him in June 1833,
through their mutual friend, and her private tutor, Mary Somerville. Between
1842 and 1843, Ada translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi
Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes,
simply called Notes. These notes contain what many consider to be the first
computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine.
Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also
developed a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating
or number-crunching, while many others, including Babbage himself, focused only
on those capabilities. Her mind-set of "poetical science" led her to
ask questions about the Analytical Engine (as shown in her notes) examining how
individuals and society relate to technology as a collaborative tool.
She died of uterine cancer in 1852 at the age of 36.
Byron expected his baby to be a
"glorious boy" and was disappointed when his wife gave birth to a
girl. Augusta was named after Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh,
and was called "Ada" by Byron himself
On 16 January 1816 Annabella, at
Byron's behest, left for her parents' home taking
one-month-old Ada with her. Although English law at the time gave fathers full
custody of their children in cases of separation, Byron made no attempt to
claim his parental right but did request that his sister keep him informed
of Ada's welfare On 21 April Byron signed the Deed of Separation, although
very reluctantly, and left England for good a few days later. Aside from an
acrimonious separation, Annabella continually made allegations about Byron's
immoral behaviour throughout her life.
This set of events made Ada famous in
Victorian society. Byron did not have a relationship with his daughter, and
never saw her again. He died in 1824 when she was eight years old. Her mother
was the only significant parental figure in her life. Ada was not shown
the family portrait of her father (covered in green shroud) until her twentieth
birthday.] Her mother
became Baroness Wentworth in her own right in 1856.
Annabella did not have a close
relationship with the young Ada, and often left her in the care of her own
mother Judith, Hon. Lady Milbanke, who doted on her grandchild. However,
because of societal attitudes of the time—which favoured the husband in any
separation, with the welfare of any child acting as mitigation—Annabella had to
present herself as a loving mother to the rest of society. This included
writing anxious letters to Lady Milbanke about Ada's welfare, with a cover note
saying to retain the letters in case she had to use them to show maternal
concern. In one letter
to Lady Milbanke, she referred to Ada as "it": "I talk to it for
your satisfaction, not my own, and shall be very glad when you have it under
your own." In her
teenage years, several of her mother's close friends watched Ada for any sign
of moral deviation. Ada dubbed these observers the "Furies", and
later complained they exaggerated and invented stories about her
Ada was often ill, beginning in early
childhood. At the age of eight, she experienced headaches that obscured her
vision.In June 1829,
she was paralysed after a bout of measles.
She was subjected to continuous bed rest for nearly a year, which may have
extended her period of disability. By 1831, she was able to walk with crutches.
Despite being ill Ada developed her mathematical and technological skills. At
age 12 this future "Lady Fairy", as Charles Babbage affectionately
called her, decided she wanted to fly. Ada went about the project methodically,
thoughtfully, with imagination and passion. Her first step in February 1828,
was to construct wings. She investigated different material and sizes. She
considered various materials for the wings: paper, oilsilk, wires and feathers.
She examined the anatomy of birds to determine the right proportion between the
wings and the body. She decided to write a book Flyology illustrating,
with plates, some of her findings. She decided what equipment she would need,
for example, a compass, to "cut across the country by the most direct
road", so that she could surmount mountains, rivers and valleys. Her final
step was to integrate steam with the "art of flying"