Ada Byron/notes on the analytical engine

< Ada Byron

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

In 184? Charles Babbage gave a seminar in Turin about his analytical engine. Luis Menabrea then wrote up Babbage's lecture in French.

Babbage asked Ada Lovelace to translate Menabrea's paper into English. He then further asked Lady Ada to augment the notes she had added to the translation, and she spent most of a year doing this.

These notes, which are said to be more extensive than Menabrea's paper, were then published in The Ladies Diary and Scientific Memoirs. According to Linda Talisman on [1] "Baum cites:

  • Perl, Teri. The Ladies Diary or Woman's Almanac, 1704-1841, Historica Mathematica 6 (1979): 36-53
  • Wallis, Ruth and Peter. Female Philomaths, Historica Mathematica 7 , (1980), 57-64

There were indeed women in mid-century England who signed their names to mathematical articles in popular journals, and there were influential periodicals, such as the Edinburgh Review, that lent intellectual women psychological support.... Although the Ladies Diary ... , the most popular of the mathematical periodicals, encouraged women to join wit with beauty, it attracted serious amateurs of both sexes... [it] was a respectable place to pose mathematical problems and sustain debate... since there were few science periodicals in England until the 1830s, technical articles often appeared in general periodicals like the Ladies Diary. It may have been something similar that originally sparked Mrs. Somerville's interest in mathematics. At a tea party one afternoon, she recalled years later, young Mary Fairfax had been given a ladies' fashion magazine that contained a puzzle, the answer to which was given in strange symbols. These symbols turned out to be algebra. And that magazine became her introduction to the world of Euclidean geometry and number.

Baum, p. 35" Submitted to [2] by Linda Talisman