The newest exhibit at the Computer History Museum, Thinking Big: Ada, Countess of Lovelace, celebrates the 200th birthday of English mathematician and visionary Ada Lovelace (1815–1852). Drawing on the Lovelace papers held at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, the Computer History Museum is the only other location in the world where you can discover these extraordinary papers.
Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was a remarkable person who was charming, temperamental, inquisitive, and intelligent. Lovelace lived at a time when women couldn’t vote or attend university, but as a member of the upper class, her friends and teachers included some of the greatest thinkers of the time: Charles Babbage, Augustus De Morgan, Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday, and Mary Somerville.
Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron. Though her father abandoned her when she was only one month old, she remained fascinated by him all her life. Her overbearing mother, Annabella Milbanke, steered her away from the arts and towards mathematics and science, afraid Lovelace would develop what she perceived as her estranged husband’s “madness.”
Lovelace was a woman of fierce originality and intellectual interests. Her ideas went beyond those of pioneer Charles Babbage, who saw computers only as number manipulators, and focused on the creative possibilities and limitations of computers—the very issues we wrestle with today.
The Computer History Museum invites you to explore the world of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, through her own words and written in her own hand.
The exhibit will be on view December 12, 2015-December 11, 2016, during regular Museum hours.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043