Tag Archives: poetical science

Ada Lovelace Day

Today (Oct. 14, 2014) is International Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 

In 1833, Lovelace met Charles Babbage for the first time. She was inspired by his Difference Engine, eager to expand upon his ideas. She and Babbage exchanged letters from June 10, 1835 to August 12, 1852. Just to give you a little perspective, it wasn’t until 1834 that the word “scientist” was coined byWilliam Whewell. Ada referred to her work as “poetical science.”

In October 1842, Luigi Federico Menabrea published an article about Babbage’s Analytical Engine in Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve. Lovelace translated it and added her own notes, about 20,000 words, to the 8,000 word piece. Published in 1843, her notes include a much deeper understanding of the potential for Babbage’s machine, including the suggestion that it was “capable of executing not merely arithmetical calculations, but even all those of analysis.”

Ada Lovelace Day » MobyLives.