Ada Lovelace

Speaker: James Essinger
Date: 17th October 2013
Time: 14:30 following the AGM

Fellows Library of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD

About the seminar

Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron´s only legitimate daughter, was rediscovered in the 1930s by pioneers such as Alan Turing, who invented the world´s first computer. Four decades on, Ada a widely-used scientific computer program, would be named after her. My new book, A Female Genius, tells the astonishing story of how the computer age could have started almost two centuries ago, in 1840s London. It shows how Ada Lovelace was the only one who understood this, despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application". She arguably wrote the world's first computer program and foresaw our use of CDs for music.

There are still some who believe she is overrated - one reason why I researched this book was to show that they are mistaken.

Ada Lovelace never knew her divorced father and idolised her parents in different ways. Charles Dickens - who read at her deathbed - and other literary and scientific luminaries of the nineteenth century befriended her. Of course, her close friendship with Charles Babbage and her working relationship with him laid the foundations for her fame and her achievement. Financially troubled, she died tragically at 36 - the same age as Lord Byron. In 2009, Ada Lovelace Day was launched to celebrate Ada's international contribution to science and to the history of computing.

I very much look forward to talking to the CCS about my remarkable heroine.

About the speakers

I am a professional writer. I write articles, most kinds of business writing and I have published more than 25 full-length business publications, including books and management reports.

I also write non-fiction and fiction books.

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