All Episodes

March 5, 2024 39 mins

When Annabella Millbanke had a daughter with her husband, Lord Byron, she was terrified that their child might inherit his poetical madness. And so she steered the girl, Ada, toward math and logic, where eventually, Ada Lovelace became obsessed with the potential of computers.

Support Noble Blood:

Bonus episodes, stickers, and scripts on Patreon

Noble Blood merch

— Order Dana's book, 'Anatomy: A Love Story' and its sequel 'Immortality: A Love Story'

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Noble Blood, a production of iHeartRadio and Grim
and Mild from Aaron Manky. Listener discretion advised. If you
are a seasoned listener of this podcast, you might remember
our episode on Villa Diodati and its inhabitants, One Fateful Summer,

(00:24):
Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron. If you're an
even more seasoned listener of this podcast, you might remember
our very early episode on Lady Caroline Lamb and the
quite literally fiery vengeance she orchestrated against her ex lover,

(00:45):
Lord Byron. This is another episode that is not actually
about Lord Byron himself, but I'm sure he would be
pleased to know we're going to begin by talking about
him yet again. Bye. In eighteen fifteen, the sixth Baron
Byron had made quite the name for himself. Outside of

(01:06):
his inherited title, he was famous in England and across
the continent for both his literary and romantic exploits. It
was Byromania, as dubbed by Caroline Lamb's cousin, Annabella Millbank.
Annabella was the daughter of a baronet and a poet herself.

(01:29):
She asked her cousin to pass along some of her
work to Caroline's famous Fling, and when she did, Caroline
suggested to Byron that Annabella might actually make a good
wife for him. Despite Byron's passion and reputation for sleeping

(01:50):
his way through the men and women of London society,
Byron needed to settle down ideally with an heiress to
remedy his growing debt, and so he courted Annabella. Annabella
had a reputation for being strict, chilly, and moral, which
made her a very odd match for the loose, sociable,

(02:13):
and decidedly less moral poet. He is a very bad,
very good man, Annabella once allegedly told her mother. When
Byron proposed, she first said no, writing him a summary
of his character to dictate exactly why. But eventually Annabella's

(02:35):
mind was changed and she said yes. Unfortunately, her first
instinct was the correct one. The marriage was doomed from
the start. In Annabella's twelve months married to Byron, she
endured abuse from her husband, constant harassment from his creditors,

(02:56):
and to top it all off, she would suffer the
human aliation of hearing that Byron was cheating on her
with his own half sister, Augusta Lee. Despite their problems,
the couple managed to have one child together. Byron had
expected a quote glorious boy and was initially disappointed when

(03:19):
Annabella gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Aida, named after yes,
exactly the half sister you might be thinking of. Ada
was born on December tenth, eighteen fifteen, and about a
month later, in the early hours of January sixteenth, Annabella
took her infant daughter from the home she shared with

(03:42):
Byron and left the marriage. Byron would never see his
wife or his daughter again. As Annabella raised her daughter
on her own, she was worried that Aida would inherit
her father's poetic madness, and so she did discouraged imaginative
and literary pursuits, instead fostering a discipline for arithmetic and logic.

(04:09):
Ada would grow up to work with the mathematician Charles
Babbage on his proposed automatic computer, the Analytical Engine, and
she understood the potential of the project in ways even
her mentor did not. Ada wrote, quote, A new, a
vast and a powerful language is developed for the future

(04:33):
use of analysis in which to wield its truths, so
that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical
application for the purposes of mankind than the means throw
in our possession have rendered possible. Thus, not only the
mental and the material, but the theoretical and the practical

(04:55):
in the mathematical world, are brought into more intimate and
effective connection with each other. What Ada was recognizing was
the language and application of a computer beyond basic computing,
and today she is recognized by the scientific community as

(05:16):
the first computer programmer. It was, as she called it,
her approach of quote poetical science that allowed her to
recognize the potential of the relationship and communication between humans
and machines. In the end, Ada Lovelace's father's imagination and

(05:39):
her mother's logic would produce a pioneer. I'm Danish Schwartz
and this is noble blood. Is the girl imaginative? Is
she social or solitary? Taciturn or talkative? Fond of reading
or otherwise? And what is her tick? I mean her foible?

(06:03):
Is she passionate? I hope that Gods have made her
anything save poetical? It is enough to have one such
fool in the family. These are the words of Byron
in a letter to his half sister, asking about his
daughter Ada back in England while he was self exiled abroad.

(06:23):
Before Byron departed, he signed the deed of separation that
both effectively ended his marriage and gave Annabella full custody
of their daughter Ada, a rarity for the time. The
accusations against Byron of both sodomy and incest that were
spreading through England put Byron in no position to argue

(06:45):
for his parental rights. His only request was that Augusta,
his half sister, be allowed to keep him informed of
Ada's well being after he left the continent through Augusta.
Annabella replied to her stranged husband, quote her prevailing characteristic
is cheerfulness and good temper. Observation not devoid of imagination,

(07:09):
but it is chiefly exercised in connection with her mechanical ingenuity,
the manufacture of ships and boats, et cetera, prefers prose
to verse. These letters were written between the end of
eighteen twenty three and the beginning of eighteen twenty four,
when Ada was seven and eight. Annabella's letter would never

(07:31):
receive a reply because Lord Byron died in Greece in
April of eighteen twenty four. He never saw his daughter or,
as he once called her, the Electra of my Mycenaea.
Ever again, Aida only knew of her father's passing vaguely,
and she knew next to nothing about him as a

(07:51):
man or historical figure until much later in life. Back
when Annabella had separated from Byron in early eighteen te
teen sixteen, she had taken Aida to her parents' home
in Leicestershire, which was where she would be raised. Annabella's
parents had recognized their daughter's intelligence at a young age,
and they had hired a Cambridge professor to tutor her.

(08:14):
In turn, Annabella began her own daughter's education when she
was four years old. Annabella apparently possessed an Emily Gilmore
like tendency to fire tutors and governesses often if they
did not meet her expectations for her daughter's education, and
in the interim stretches between employees, she took charge of

(08:37):
AIDA's education herself. A system was applied to AIDA's education
that is not totally dissimilar from something you might see
in a children's school today. AIDA's good behavior, like paying attention,
applying herself to her lessons, and sitting still, was rewarded
with a ticket. Sitting still was the trickiest part for

(08:59):
young AGNs Aida. One of her early governesses, Miss Lamont,
wrote that her young charge reminded her of a reindeer
dashing about tickets could be confiscated when Aida did not
meet her mother's expectations. When that same governess ultimately left
her posts, she reflected quote, no person can be more rational, companionable,

(09:23):
and endearing than this rare child, before adding that Aida
would do almost anything to win her mother's praise. However,
AIDA's eagerness for praise didn't mean that her mother's pressure
was never met with resistance. Ada's rebellions could often prove
to be volatile. Once, when Aida couldn't stop fidgeting, a

(09:45):
housemaid was ordered to confine her fingers with black cotton bags.
The housemaid's attempt was met with a bite from the
then five year old young lady of the house. Ada
was sent to the corner to think about what she did,
and she spent that time angrily biting down on the
molding on the walls. At tea time, Ada was allowed

(10:08):
to return, and Annabella comforted her daughter by reading to her,
rather ironically, based on what we know some soothing poetry.
Ada was becoming prone to violent bouts like that, and
Annabella forebodingly sought as a sign of her separated husband's
cursed temperament coming through, Ada was becoming more like her

(10:33):
father in other ways. When she was eight, she invented
the word gobble book to describe her newly developed appetite
for reading. Around this time, her resistance to her schooling lessened.
She became a passionate student across her subjects, from arithmetic
to French to violin, the latter of which she often

(10:54):
played while circling the billiard's table as her daily exercise.
Her book about Aida and Annabella, the historian Miranda Seymour
recounts that Ada thought outside the box when it came
to her mother's rigid lessons. Aida quote built cities of
colored bricks and turned geography lessons into flights of fancy.

(11:18):
Could the waves in Norway really surge higher than her
own tall house? End quote. AIDA's relationship with her mother
continued to be a complicated one. Many historians view Annabella
as both overbearing and neglectful, while a smaller portion of
historians find her behavior unremarkable compared to other upperclass mothers

(11:42):
of the era. Ada was certainly isolated and undersocialized as
a child. Her mother was both obsessive about her daughter's
education and anxious about any potential exposure to illness. Ada
was also notably celebrity in her own right in England,
thanks to her father's fame and notoriety and his very

(12:07):
public separation from AIDA's mother, which only furthered the apparent
need for Aida to stay out of public view. AIDA's
dearest and arguably only friend was her beloved cat Puff,
though she also held a deep affection for her young
cousin George and promised him Puff's kittens. The accusations of

(12:31):
Annabella's neglectfulness come from the fact that as Aida got older,
Annabella began to spend more and more time away from
her daughter, visiting friends or taking rest cures for various
health complications. During these periods, Ada was left in the
care of her governess's tutors. And of course Puff, I

(12:55):
would be remiss if I didn't read you one of
the letters twelve year old Ada wrote about the varied
adventures of miss Puff. This one is to her mother
while her mother was away. Quote, your granddaughter Puff has
taken up all her kittens into a very nasty, dirty
hole in the roof of the house where nobody can
get at them. She stays with them all day long

(13:17):
and only comes down for her meals. I suppose their
bed is made of cobwebs, and I think that Puff
cannot have very refined taste. Around this time, something interesting
begins to appear in Ada's letters. Beyond Puff's living habits.
We first see it show up in a diary entry
from February eighteen, twenty eight quote, I am going to

(13:41):
begin my paper wings tomorrow, and the more I think
about it, the more I feel almost convinced that with
a year or so's experience in practice, I shall be
able to bring the art of flying to very great perfection.
I think of writing a book on flyology, illustrated with plates.
After giving her mother updates on Puff, AIDA's letters would

(14:04):
provide updates on her attempts to build wings and fly.
As you might imagine, progress was slow. Ada began to
sign her letters your affectionate young turkey or your carrier pigeon.
And it's not a stretch to wonder how much of
her desire to fly was spurred on by intellectual curiosity

(14:25):
and how much of it was connected to being isolated
and alone far from her mother. In a letter from
March that same year, Ada wrote, quote, since last night,
I've been thinking more about the flying, and I can
find no difficulty in the motion or distension of the wings.
I've already thought of a way of fixing them to

(14:47):
the shoulder, and I think that they might perhaps be
made of oil silk. And if that does not answer,
I must try to do what I can with feathers.
I know you will laugh at what I'm going to say,
but I'm going to take the exact patterns of a
bird's wing in proportion to the size of its body,
and then I am immediately going to set about making
a pair of paperwings of exactly the same size as

(15:10):
a bird's in proportion to my size. Aida goes on
to admit that she lacks information regarding bird anatomy, but
she has no interest in dissecting a bird to learn more,
and so she prevails upon her mother to send a
book on the subject. AIDA's dreams of flying were put
on pause not by her mother's disapproval, but by a

(15:33):
serious illness she came down with in eighteen twenty nine, Ultimately,
Ada was bedridden until mid eighteen thirty two. Save for
the occasional brief expedition in a wheelchair or on crutches,
that was AIDA's life from ages fourteen to seventeen, an

(15:54):
exceptionally key period in any adolescence development. During this period,
Annabella and Ada relocated to a home just outside of
London to be closer to the best doctors and eventually
closer to society. Aida seems to have often been in
great pain, even finding sitting up to be difficult at times.

(16:18):
Her letters became less frequent during that period, and the
ones that were written are difficult to read because of
shaky penmanship. Quote this has been a sad irregular week,
reads one note to her tutor Monday. I missed nothing,
but was so desponding and despairing that I could have
cried with very great pleasure. It was during this time

(16:42):
that Annabella first introduced Ada to Lord Byron's poetry. Annabella's
choice for her daughter was a poem called fare the Well,
a poem in which Byron was directly addressing Annabella after
their separation. The poem includes the line when our child's
first accents flow, wilt thou teach her to say father.

(17:06):
Annabella also gave Aida selections from Byron's epic The Jiaur,
hopefully excluding the darker bits about being drowned in the
sea for infidelity. Ada's reaction was apparently lukewarm. On a
larger scale, the bedridden teen was given much more leeway
than she had ever been in regards to her reading,

(17:29):
and her imagination continued to grow. But shortly after Ada
was back in good health, her mother hired a new
tutor to refocus the now nearly adult AIDA's education on
arithmetic and religion. I should also note that this decision
was influenced by a brief stint in eighteen thirty three

(17:51):
in which Aida unsuccessfully attempted to elope with a young
man historians believe was her shorthand tutor due to a
record of his swift termination, although there is no definitive
proof about who the young man's identity actually was. The
young couple did not get very far. When Aida showed

(18:12):
up at her lover's family home, his parents swiftly returned
her to her mother, fearing the wrath of the famous Annabella.
Hence the addition of a heavy emphasis on religion in
the new curriculum. Ada was a dutiful student, but tried
to explain to her tutor that she was not interested

(18:33):
in arithmetic for its own sake, but rather for its
broader applications in capacities like physics. For those sorts of questions,
she found a supportive mentor in her mother's friend, Mary Somerville,
who just so happened to be one of nineteenth century
England's most brilliant scientific minds. It was Mary who that

(18:56):
same year would bring Ada to a party hosted by
one of her closest friends, Charles Babbage. Mary Somerville and
another Mary, Mary Mountgomery would prove to be great influences
on AIDA's intellectual growth. Two of her mother's closest friends

(19:20):
had taken the eighteen year old Ada under their wings
and encouraged her love of science. Mary Montgomery brought Aida
to lectures at intellectual hotspots like the Royal Institution, where
Ada learned of the latest development in geology, chemistry, and
natural philosophy, and the friendship of the Marys also allowed

(19:41):
Ada to attend one of the famous Saturday soires hosted
by Charles Babbage, for which in order to get an
invitation you needed to possess quote beauty, rank, or intellect,
at least as described by the wife of one science.
Ada had met the mathematician before through Mary Somerville, but

(20:05):
it was at one of his soires that the two
would form the beginnings of their ultimately history making working relationship.
Despite Babbage being a year older than AIDA's mother, the
two had a number of things in common. They had
both dealt with periods of intense illness in their youth,
and where Aida had attempted to craft wings to fly,

(20:27):
Charles had attempted to craft shoes to walk on water.
Both of those are very Leonardo da Vinci in the
movie Ever After, if you've seen it. When Aida and
Babbage met, he attempted to delight his young guest with
his Silver Lady automaton, but to his surprise, Aida was

(20:48):
instead interested in another invention. On display a small portion
of the steam powered computing machine Babbage had been ambitiously
trying to build four years. Another guest remarked how miss
Byron young as she was, understood its working and saw
the great beauty of the invention, Ada was consumed by

(21:11):
the idea of it. Quote, I'm afraid that when a
machine or a lecture, or anything of the kind comes
my way. I have no regard for time, space or
any other ordinary obstacle, Ada wrote to Somerville. Some months later.
Annabella saw some value in the machine, but she was
weary of her daughter's intense passion for it. Around this time,

(21:36):
Annabella had a friend provide her with a one hundred
percent scientifically sound nothing to question here phrenology reading of
AIDA's skull. As noted by Seymour, the reading quote confirmed
Lady Byron's fears. Her daughter's intelligence was considerable, but it
was of an impetuous and willful kind. Don't you hate

(21:59):
when the bumps on your skull reveal that? While Aida
continued to be under the tutelage of her mother's tutor,
Somerville and Babbage took on Aida as an unofficial pupil
as well. It was during this time that Babbage began
to conceptualize the machine that would ultimately come to be

(22:20):
known as Babbage's Analytical Engine. However, it was also during
this time that Aida began to show signs of extreme fatigue,
and she ultimately listened to Somerville's advice to take a
step back from her studies. What was a woman to
do with newfound free time, Why, of course, get married.

(22:44):
The match was set up by Somerville. Lord William King,
was a friend of her son from Trinity College, Cambridge,
ironically Byron's alma mater, and Lord William King fancied himself
something of a byronic figure. When he and Ada were
introduced at a ball, he found himself not just infatuated

(23:05):
with the legend of AIDA's late father, but with Ada herself.
They danced all night, and a few months later they
were engaged. The couple married in eighteen thirty five, and
while I don't want to dive too deeply into their
married life for the sake of time, I would once
again be remiss if I didn't share a portion of
AIDA's writing with you. Early in their relationship, the couple

(23:29):
apparently referred to each other with Avian nicknames, which I
find very sweet given AIDA's history with wings. William was
the crow, Ada was the bird, and they often called
AIDA's mother Annabella the hen. When a newly pregnant Aida
spent some time visiting her mother away from her husband,

(23:50):
she wrote to him with a new ornithological nickname, her
dear cock, I want my cock at night to keep
me warm. Absolutely no notes, Ada beautiful work. Your father
wishes he could have written something so beautiful and so poetic.
The kings were apparently a very good looking couple, and

(24:12):
very much not afraid to show how much they thought
that of each other. When Aida and William gave the
hen the honor of choosing the name of their newborn son,
it may surprise you to hear what Annabella answered Byron.
Grace had come with the passage of time. Annabella held

(24:33):
more affection for her late husband as she aged, and
with Ada grown and married, it seems she feared less
and less the risk of Byron's madness ruining her. A
few years into the marriage, namely, when Princess Victoria became
Queen Victoria in eighteen thirty seven, William and Ada became

(24:55):
the Earl and Countess of Lovelace, reviving a title from
Iron's side of the family that had become extinct a
century prior. Ada was not particularly interested in being a countess, however,
and by eighteen forty she sought to resume her intellectual pursuits,
something she found her husband didn't quite share her passion for.

(25:19):
Quote I hope you are bearing me in mind, she
wrote in a letter to Charles Babbage that year, I
mean my mathematical interests. You know this is the greatest
favor anyone can do me. Perhaps none of us can
estimate how great. Who can calculate to what it might lead?
Am I too imaginative for you? I think not. AIDA's

(25:41):
dear mentor Mary Somerville, had recently relocated to Italy with
her family as her health declined, and Ada was seeking
a new tutor to guide her curiosity. Babbage connected her
with Augustus de Morgan, the English mathematician now remembered for
his formulation known as de Morgan's Laws. It was de

(26:03):
Morgan who refined the now twenty four year old AIDA's
mathematical potential. As an older student a married mother, Ada
was learning how to dedicate herself to her improvement in
practical ways, grasping, in her own words, quote the importance
of not being in a hurry. Despite AIDA's newfound groundedness,

(26:28):
she still couldn't shake her fascination with the analytical engine
Babbage had been working on. In January of eighteen forty one,
she wrote to Babbage, quote, you have always been a
kind and real and most invaluable friend to me, and
I would that I could in any way repay it,
though I scarcely dare to exalt myself as to hope,

(26:50):
however humbly, that I can ever be intellectually worthy of
attempting to serve you. It was around this time that
AIDA's mood began to show again, back within the realms
of the mad and the poetical. She told de Morgan
that the mathematical forms they were studying reminded her of

(27:11):
the fairies she had read about in fiction. She wrote
a letter to her mother that sounded not unlike those
about flying as a youth, Only this time the letter
was detailing her belief that she had intuited that in
the future she would be able to build an apparatus
that would allow her to see quote anything that a

(27:33):
being not actually dead can see and know. It's possible
that this bout of slightly delusional thinking was brought on
by learning that her cousin Medora Lee was in fact
her half sister, likely the product of Lord Byron and
his half sister Augusta, and their incestuous relationship. Quote. I

(27:57):
am not in the least astonished, wrote to her mother
after the revelation quote in fact, you merely confirm what
I have for years and years felt scarcely a doubt about.
But should have considered it most improper in me to
hint to you that I in any way suspected. Despite
that cool reaction, in other writings, we can see that

(28:20):
for Ada, learning that she was not in fact the
Great Lord Byron's only heir, spurred in her a great
need to prove herself, perhaps to surpass her father's achievements.
She even considered turning to poetry quote it will be
poetry of a unique kind, far more philosophical and higher

(28:42):
in its nature than aught the world has perhaps yet seen.
End quote In regards to the incest of it all,
Ada blamed Augusta more than her own father, imagining that
she had been the instigator. Ada did find a way
to publish poetry of a unique kind. In eighteen forty two,

(29:03):
Luigi Frederico Menebrea, a professor of mechanics who ultimately became
the seventh Prime Minister of Italy, published a paper on
Babbage's analytical engine in French. The editor of a London
based journal approached one of Babbage's friends regarding his want
for a translation, and Aida was immediately referred to for

(29:25):
the job. Despite being in bad health at the time.
As she increasingly was in adulthood, Ada eagerly accepted, finally
getting her chance to be involved in any capacity with
the project. In addition to writing an excellent translation, Babbage
himself apparently proposed that Aida had her own thoughts on

(29:47):
the project in the paper's notes. In his conclusion, Minnebrea asked, quote,
who can foresee the consequences of such an invention? Well?
Aida had an answer one you heard at the top
of this episode the quote vast new powerful language. Menabrea's
paper was only originally around eight thousand words. AIDA's clocked

(30:10):
in at twenty thousand. The writer James Esinger in his
book AIDA's Algorithm comments on the significance of her notes quote,
Aida is seeking to do nothing less than invent the
science of computing and separate it from the science of mathematics.
What she calls the science of operations is indeed in

(30:32):
effect computing. Unlike Babbage, Aida saw the practical uses of
the analytical engine and foresaw the digitization of music as
CDs or synthesizers and their ability to generate music. End quote.
That last bit of the passage about music refers to
a part of AIDA's notes I consider worth reading aloud

(30:56):
while you, the listener, recall that she was writing this
in a eighteen forty two The computer, Aida argues, quote
might act upon other things besides number, where objects found
whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of
the abstract science of operations. Supposing, for instance, that the

(31:19):
fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony
and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations,
the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music
of any degree of complexity or extent. End quote. Ada's
understanding of computing is bettered by her understanding of and

(31:43):
passion for music that began as a child. In the
same vein. Her understanding of computing was equally bettered by
her understanding of language itself. She wrote, quote, this science
constitutes the language through which a line we can adequately
express the great facts of the natural world and those

(32:05):
unceasing changes of mutual relationship which visibly or invisibly, consciously
or unconsciously to our immediate physical perceptions are interminably going
on in the agencies of the creation we live amidst
It's downright philosophical, and in a more personal sense, regarding

(32:26):
AIDA's own experience, it contradicts the idea that one must
be imaginative or logical to understand the natural world is
to understand humanity, and vice versa. What ultimately led to
Ada's recognition today as the first computer programmer was not

(32:47):
her philosophical perspective on the potential of a computing device,
but an algorithm called note G. I'll let essenger explain
its significance far more intelligently than I would be able
to quote. Note G is highly complex, juggling mathematics and technology.
Most important of all, it is in effect a program

(33:11):
containing instructions for a computer. While note G isn't a
program you can execute today, it is instead an instruction
for how the analytical engine would theoretically execute it. Those
in the programming community thus debate whether or not it
can actually be considered the first computer program, but there

(33:33):
is no doubt it was a pioneering line of thinking.
Aida initially didn't consider putting her name on her work
at all, but later settled on signing as Aal at
the suggestion of her husband. Notably, this pen name was genderless,
which was AIDA's intention. Aal proudly presented her mother with

(33:56):
her notes, which she called her first born. Quote. He
will make an excellent head of I hope a large
family of brothers and sisters, she said. Annabella was extremely
proud of her daughter, boasting herself as quote mother of Aida,
which she said might be quote as good a passport

(34:17):
to posterity if I am to have one as the
wife of Byron. Though Ada published the notes simply under
her initials, it quickly became known among London society that
Lord Byron's brilliant daughter was the author, and she soon
was a well regarded name in the scientific community. Tragically,

(34:39):
Ada's health only began to decline further, and her Notes
would end up being her only published work. She would
live for less than a decade after her note's publication,
during which the state of her health ebbed and flowed.
This is not to say that Aida didn't still live
a life during those years. There was ga gambling, there

(35:00):
was infidelity, and there was ultimately an unknown deathbed confession
so juicy that her husband left in her final hours,
But unfortunately we just have to speculate on what exactly
that confession was. Aida died of uterine cancer on November
twenty seventh, eighteen fifty two, when she was thirty six

(35:23):
years old. Many have tried over the years to discredit
AIDA's work and stick around for the epilogue to hear
more about that, but today her impact as a visionary
far ahead of her time is undeniable. In Miranda Seymour's
book In Byron's Wake, she astutely compares AIDA's work to
that of her father's friend Mary Shelley, writing quote, neither

(35:48):
woman changed the world in which they lived uniquely. Both
Lovelace and Shelley foresaw the role that technology might have
to play in transforming a world they never new. Perhaps
it wasn't quite delusion when Ada told her mother that
one day she could be able to see quote anything

(36:09):
that a being not actually dead can see and know.
That's the story of Ada Lovelace's technological achievements. But keep
listening after a brief sponsor break, to hear a little
bit more about her legacy. It is no exaggeration, wrote

(36:39):
the Babbage historian Bruce Collier to say that she was
a manic, depressive with the most amazing delusions about her
own talents and a rather shallow understanding of Charles Babbage
and the analytical engine. There is a history of valid
debate within the scientific community as to whether or not
AIDA's algorithm them constitutes a computer program, or whether or

(37:03):
not she was the first computer programmer, but comments like
the one made above have also not been uncommon throughout history,
comments that pretty much boil down to misogyny. Quote. As
people realized how important computer programming was, there was a
greater backlash and an attempt to reclaim it as a

(37:24):
male activity, says Valerie Aurora, the executive director of the
Ada Initiative, a nonprofit organization that arranges conferences and training
programs to elevate women working in math and science in
order to keep that wealth, she told The New Yorker
and power in a man's hand, there's backlash to try

(37:46):
to redefine it as something a woman didn't do, and
shouldn't do and couldn't do. Since two thousand and nine,
Ada Lovelace Day has been celebrated on the second Tuesday
of October, with the goal to quote raise the profile
of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Let's be English

(38:07):
here for Ada maths. In twenty thirteen, when the New
Yorker piece quoted above was written, a quote Ada Lovelace
edit Athon was being hosted at my alma mater, Brown University,
where volunteers were invited to improve Wikipedia entries for female scientists.

(38:27):
Universities continue to host various Ada Lovelace Day conferences and
events each year, and last year the Official Ada Lovelace
Day organizers hosted their annual Science Cabaret at the Royal Institution,
where Mary Montgomery used to bring a teenage Ada Lovelace

(38:47):
to broaden her mind. Noble Blood is a production of
iHeart Radio and Grimm and Mild from Aaron Manke. Noble

(39:10):
Blood is created and hosted by me Dana Schwortz, with
additional writing and researching by Hannah Johnston, Hannah Zwick, Mira Hayward,
Courtney Sender, and Lori Goodman. The show is edited and
produced by Noemi Griffin and rima Il Kahali, with supervising
producer Josh Thain and executive producers Aaron Manke, Alex Williams

(39:35):
and Matt Frederick. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows.
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.