Established in 2009, Ada Lovelace Day is a global event to promote and celebrate pioneering women working in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM).
The day inspired celebrations and events around the world, including one here in Scotland through the Ada Festival in Scotland, which brings together partners involved in addressing the issue of gender balance in computer science education in Scotland.
The Day of Celebration is named after Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer known for her work on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.
Born in 1815, Lovelace lived a tragically short life, dying at the age of 36. However, her legacy has inspired generations of young women and girls to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in technology and science.
Here are five facts about Ada Lovelace that you may not have known.
Growing up, Lovelace had a remarkable nickname
As a child, Lovelace’s nickname was “Princess of Parallelograms”, attributed to her by her famous father, the poet. Lord Byron.
Later, captivated by her brain, her mentor Charles Babbage nicknamed her “The Enchantress of Numbers”.
She suffered from gambling problems
Lovelace is recorded as having had a serious gambling problem, which contributed to the decline in her finances and caused her to pledge the family diamonds.
On one particular occasion, she lost £ 3,200 betting on a horse at the Epsom Derby. Notably, Lovelace even used his programming skills to try and predict the outcome of races.
Lovelace and his father died young
Lovelace and his father died at the age of 36. It is believed that she probably died of uterine cancer.
Although she never knew her father, who died abroad at the age of eight, Lovelace was deeply fascinated by him and asked to be buried alongside Lord Byron in the family vault inside. from the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall.
She had a legendary mentor
Babbage, who is considered “the father of the computer,” was Ada’s mentor. After being taken under her tutelage, she translated into English an article by Luigi Menabrea – military engineer and future Italian prime minister – on her mentor’s theoretical analysis engine.
She added her own notes on the analytical engine which were three times as long as the original article and it was published in an English journal in 1843 with only her initials, AAL
Lovelace was manner ahead of its time
At the age of 12, Lovelace conceptualized a flying machine after studying the anatomy of birds and the suitability of various materials. She illustrated her plans to build a winged flying device before she started to think about powered flight.
She wrote to her mother: “I have a plan to make one thing in the form of a horse with a steam engine inside so as to move a huge pair of wings, attached to the outside of the horse. , in such a manner of carrying it in the air while a person is sitting on the back.