Mini-review: Ada Lovelace, Lucy Lethbridge

Title: Who Was… Ada Lovelace, Computer Wizard of Victorian England (Goodreads)

Author: Lucy Lethbridge

Rating: ★★★★☆

Daughter of the famous romantic poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace was a child prodigy. Brilliant at maths, she read numbers like most people read words.

In 1843 Ada came to the attention of Charles Babbage, a scientist and techno-whizz who had just built an amazing new “Thinking Machine”. She and Mr Babbage started working together – a perfect partnership which led to the most important invention of the modern world: THE COMPUTER!

Details

Series: Stand alone but part of the Who Was… collection.
Genre: Children’s non-fiction
Published: Short Books, 2004
Pages: 81

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Book Depository
No e-book copies available.

Review

Ada Lovelace is widely acclaimed in modern popular culture as being one of the first computer programmers because of her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine in 1943. Her modern-day following love her – not only was she a brilliant mathematician and rather nerdy (by today’s terminology), but also, a girl. Ada Lovelace day is held each year to “raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths”.

Ada Lovelace: Computer Wizard of Victorian England tells the story of her life in a very interesting and easily understandable way, aimed at primary-aged children. Ada herself was rather ill for much of her life and probably suffered even more from the medical treatments of the day (electro-shock therapy, anyone?). She didn’t sound like a very easy person to work with, except when she was obsessed with a mathematical problem. All this comes across quite strongly in this book.

I think the most important messages that Ada Lovelace’s story can teach us these days is that not only is it important for the contributions of women to be recognised in the sciences, but also that anyone, man or woman, if they’re passionate about something and society looks down upon them for that, they should go ahead and keep trying (as long as no-one is hurt in the process, of course!). Ada didn’t care what the nobility thought of her eccentric ways, she just kept doing what she loved.

No warnings, this is squeaky clean.