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Department of Engineering

Lovelace Lecture Series, Celebrating The Achievements of Women

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; 10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the poet George Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke ("Annabella"), Lady Wentworth. Ada's mother promoted Ada's interest in mathematics and logic.

Her educational and social exploits brought her into contact with scientists such as Andrew Crosse, Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone, Michael Faraday and the author Charles Dickens, in which she used to further her education. Ada described her approach as "poetical science"and herself as an "Analyst (& Metaphysician)".

As a teenager, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, also known as 'the father of computers', and in particular, Babbage's work on the Analytical Engine. Lovelace first met him in June 1833, through their mutual friend, and her private tutor, Mary Somerville. Between 1842 and 1843, Ada translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes, simply called Notes. These notes contain what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also developed a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching, while many others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities. Her mind-set of "poetical science" led her to ask questions about the Analytical Engine (as shown in her notes) examining how individuals and society relate to technology as a collaborative tool.

Ada married William Lord King in 1835. King was made Earl of Lovelace in 1838, and she became Lady Lovelace. She died 1852 at the age of 36.

Durham Love lace Lecture 2018

Will be delivered by guest speaker:

Professor Joanna Dorothy Haigh, CBE, FRS, FRMetS

Science, the Sun, the Climate and how I ended up in an exciting career I didn't anticipate

In this talk I will outline some of my work on solar variability and climate and try to offer an objective overview of my career, the decisions I have made and the support I have received.

12:00 Friday, 9th March
Higginson Building
Room E240
(lunch included)

Having spent most of my research life investigating various aspects of radiative transfer in theatmosphere it was a chance remark by a solar physicist that sparked my interest in the Sun’sinfluence on climate. I have found it a fascinating and rich subject for research. Solar-climatelinks have, of course, been the subject of popular and scientific interest since ancient times butover recent decades the topic has acquired new significance in the context of the need toassess the relative contributions of natural and human factors to climate change. So my longstanding interest in weather progressed into a deeper concern with climate, and the opportunityto become co-director of the Grantham Institute (Climate Change and Environment) at Imperial College has opened up for me a whole new career avenue in climate change.