Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Lovelace3.largeYou probably missed it. No, I’m certain you missed it. We all did.

Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day. 

Who’s Ada Lovelace, you ask? Born in 1815, the daughter of English poet Lord Byron and a mathematics-loving mother named Annabella Milbanke, Ada Lovelace was a math prodigy. According to this biography,

“Fearing that Ada would inherit her father’s volatile ‘poetic’ temperament, her mother raised her under a strict regimen of science, logic, and mathematics. Ada herself from childhood had a fascination with machines– designing fanciful boats and steam flying machines, and poring over the diagrams of the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution that filled the scientific magazines of the time.”

Over time, Ada Lovelace found her way into some pretty lofty mathematics and science circles. Ultimately, in 1842, Lovelace wrote what some consider to be the first computer program, when she published an article entitled, “Sketch of the Analytical Engine, with Notes from the Translator.” Because of this, in her time, Lovelace developed quite a reputation. Check out what one of her contemporaries had to say about her:

“Babbage described her as “that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects could have exerted over it,” or an another occasion, as “The Enchantress of Numbers”.

“The Enchantress of Numbers.” If you ask me, that’s a pretty sweet nickname.

Every year, Ada Lovelace day celebrates women in the science, technology, math and engineering fields. It won’t surprise you to know that these sectors of culture are owned by Tertullian. After all, according to this article,

“Women software developers earn 80 percent of what men with the same jobs earn. Just 18 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women, down from 37 percent in 1985. Fewer than 5 percent of venture-backed tech start-ups are founded by women.”

Simply put, we need more Ada Lovelace Days.

For this year’s celebration, Brown University hosted a wiki editing session, where “volunteers could gather to create and expand upon entries about women in science and technology.” Talk about setting the record straight! The story is here.

Recently, my daughter Lucy and I were talking about what she wants to be when she grows up. She blew my mind when she described a job where she could design buildings that were beautiful and safe for people to live and work in. Yep, my 9 year old is trying to decide between being an architect or an engineer.

Either way, I think Ada would approve.

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