Friday, October 7, 2011

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada, Countess Lovelace

Today is Ada Lovelace Day! Today, people around the world are celebrating their heroines in engineering, science, technology and math. Somehow, it crept up on me, and I would like you to consider my (lenghty) post on Chien-Shiung Wu and the Violation of Parity as my contribution for this year. I posted it an hour early... but Madame Wu is a great choice.

About the image: This is a lino block print of Countess, Lady Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who published the first computer program.* She worked together with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine (the first - analogue! - computers), correcting his notes on how to calculate Bernoulli Numbers with the Analytical Engine. More importantly, she (a great communicator, daughter of mad, bad and dangerous to know Lord Byron) was able to understand and explain the workings of the analytical engine and the potential of computing machines. Her comments seem visionary to the modern reader. Babbage called her the Enchantress of Numbers and the Princess of Parallelograms.

The print is in gold, purple and turquoise water-based block printing ink on mauve Japanese gampi paper 15.25 inches x 10.5 inches.

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