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Long before man built a computer, Ada Lovelace's futuristic understanding of computing remained unappreciated and lost to the sands of time.
Long before man built a computer, Ada Lovelace’s futuristic understanding of computing remained unappreciated and lost to the sands of time.
The Honourable Augusta Ada Lovelace, Countess of Lovelace, is annually recognised for her ingenious mind on the second Tuesday of October. Mother to three, wife to the first Earl of Lovelace, Ada was a genius far beyond her times.
According to A Female Genius: How Ada Lovelace started The Computer Age, Ada’s biography, Ada’s mother wished to suppress her imagination from running wild. However, she did fuel Ada’s curiosity despite her fears.
The biography written by James Essinger says Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke, the eleventh Baroness Wentworth feared Ada had inherited her father’s mad streak. Her father was the romantic poet George Gordon Byron, the sixth Baron Byron.
That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal, as time will show – Ada Lovelace
At the tender age of twelve, her desire to fly and obsession with machines led Ada to design a steam-powered flying machine. It preceded the aerial steam carriage, patented by William Hanson and John Stringfellow in 1842, by 15 years.
Ada was disciplined in the fields of science, mathematics, music and languages. But mathematics had her riled, it fascinated and consumed her. She was soon acquainted with the Cambridge mathematics professor Charles Babbage and his famous ‘Difference Engine.’ This was a mechanical tower of numbered wheels that made reliable calculations.
Her fascination with mathematics led her to fall head-on into the project of creating a correspondence with the inventor. And also to impart her own mathematical potential to aid its functionality.
By this time, Charles Babbage has begun work on his Analytical Engine. It was a general-purpose machine that comprised of parts of the modern day computer, an arithmetic unit, integrated memory and conditional branching and loops.
In 1842, he delivered a lecture at the University of Turin, which Luigi Federico Menabrea, an Italian engineer, transcribed in French. Her mathematics tutor, Augustus De Morgan asked Lovelace to transcribe the lecture to English.
She added her own notes and got it published in 1843. This was her only formally published work and was much appreciated and held in awe by Babbage himself.
Lovelace understood the profound capability Babbage’s Engine possessed. She could foresee its ability far beyond numbers, to manipulate symbols, compose music, generate graphics and aid science. Lovelace wrote the first proper, fully complete computer program to calculate Bernoulli numbers.
Impressed with her work, Babbage had named her, ‘The Enchantress Of Numbers.’ Long before any man built a computer, there was a remarkable woman whose futuristic understanding of computing remained unappreciated and lost to the sands of time.
The Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is the brainchild of Suw Charman Anderson. She is a journalist, a public speaker, and the former Executive Director of Open Rights Group (a digital rights campaigning group based in London)
Anderson had founded the ALD in 2009 as an effort to celebrate women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) And to acknowledge their struggles and achievements. It was a major motion launched as a response to fuel online discussions about the major issue of invisibility faced by the women in STEM.
A version of this article was first published here.
Picture credits: History.com
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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