A Female Genius: How Ada Lovelace Started the Computer Age

Author(s): James Essinger

Biography, Memoir & Autobiography

Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's only legitimate daughter, was rediscovered in the 1930s by pioneers such as Alan Turing, who invented the world's first computer. Four decades on, Ada, a widely-used scientific computer programme, would be named after her. A Female Genius tells the remarkable story of her life, how she overcame the obstacles in her way; her background, her over-bearing mother, her ill health and being a woman in the male-dominated 19th century. It also tells the story how the computer age could have started almost two centuries ago, in 1840s London. Ada Lovelace was the only one who understood this, despite opposition that the principles of science were 'beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application'. She, for example, wrote the world's first computer programme and foresaw that computers could create music. There are still some who believe she is 'overrated' - the reason why James Essinger researched this book.


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James Essinger is a writer with a particular interest in the history of ideas that have had a practical impact on the modern world. His previous book, Jacquard's Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age (2004), was chosen as one of the top 5 popular science books of the year by the Economist.

Preface 1 Poetic Beginnings 2 Lord Byron: A Scandalous Ancestry 3 Annabella: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes 4 The Manor of Parallelograms 5 The Art of Flying 6 Love 7 Silken Threads 8 When Ada Met Charles 9 The Thinking Machine 10 Kinship 11 Mad Scientist 12 The Analytical Engine 13 The Jacquard Loom 14 A Mind with a View 15 Ada's Offer to Babbage 16 The Enchantress of Number 17 A Horrible Death 18 Redemption Afterword Notes Acknowledgements Four Poems Index

General Fields

  • : 9781908096661
  • : Gibson Square Books Ltd
  • : Gibson Square Books Ltd
  • : June 2013
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : James Essinger
  • : Hardback
  • : 813
  • : 004.092
  • : 288
  • : illustrations