Ada Lovelace Day

Described as the “Enchantress of Numbers” by her lifelong friend Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, born Ada Gordon, was one of the foremost mathematical brains of the 19th century.

Raised on a diet of mathematics and logic by her mother, Lovelace had a longstanding love of machinery and how things worked.

Her friendship with Babbage brought her into contact with the Analytical Engine, which was the forerunner to the modern computer. Lovelace translated some work by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea regarding the Analytical Engine and expanded upon it, tripling its length and essentially inventing early computer programs.

Lovelace tragically died of cancer at the young age of 36, but her legacy lives on, most notably in the modern computer, as her work was the inspiration for a young Alan Turing in the 1940s.

To find out more about heroes of science, technology and history, check out How It Works magazine. This month we profile Steve Jobs