Are you celebrating Ada Lovelace Day every year? If you have ever used a computer, you probably should!
So, who is Ada Lovelace, and why do we have a day dedicated to her?
First things first, let’s talk technology. When most of us discuss the earliest years of the “computer,” people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and the computer boom of the 1980s probably come to mind. Very few people know about its far earlier history that began more than a century before the advent of the modern computer.
How does Ada Lovelace fit into all this computer history? Lovelace is considered by many to be the first author of a computer program and a pioneer thinking far ahead of her time.
Her story is a fascinating bit of lost history and certainly one worth celebrating!
Here is one of EWC’s favorite YouTube channels, SciShow, to fill us in.
SciShow produces tons of incredible and interesting content like this, so go check them out when you have the chance!
The Legacy of Ada Lovelace…
There you go, one more amazing thing to celebrate!
When we look at the accomplishments of Ada Lovelace, we see a thought leader, far ahead of her time, thinking on the fragile edges of possibility. As a brilliant, driven, and strong woman in technology in that era, she is certainly someone to be admired.
The way she wrote about Babbage’s Analytical Engine is captivating, capturing the spirit of a far off, unimaginable future. Here’s a particularly wonderful passage:
The Analytical Engine does not occupy common ground with mere ‘calculating machines’ … A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible.” 2
We are all pushed forward by thinkers like Ada Lovelace? Whether they take up pages in the history books, are minor details in a footnote, or completely lost to history, those that look ahead and explore the frontiers move society forward.
Perhaps we could all do well to celebrate he thought leaders and visionaries of history a little more. Their stories remind us to dream bigger and reach further.
A big thank you to Ever Widening Circles reader Katie Ulrich for reminding us of this monumental event in history!
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- “Ada Lovelace: Great Minds.” YouTube. SciShow, 05 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBbVbqRvqTM>. ↩
- Nijhuis, Michelle. “If You Have Ever Used a Computer, You Should Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day.” Slate Magazine. Slate, 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2016. <http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/10/14/ada_lovelace_day_2014_if_you_have_ever_used_a_computer_you_should_celebrate.html>. ↩