Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lovelace & Babbage

I was stumbling around on the internet, as I usually do, when I found a notification for this graphic novel about Ada Lovelace (i.e. historically believed to be the first computer programmer) and Charles Babbage (i.e. the guy who invented the first mechanical computer).  Though their accomplishments are often contested.  Lovelace & Babbage corresponded with one another and Lovelace even translated some of Babbage's lectures and papers.

 The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage:  The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
written and illustrated by Sydney Padua

But this comic is not about complete historical accuracy.   It's a work of fiction littered with facts (copious amounts of thrilling footnotes), and it uses people who were once alive.

It is a graphic novel that asks, what if Lovelace and Babbage had stopped talking about it and instead built the difference engine?

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But if you are looking for something about Ada Lovelace that is a little more firmly grounded in historical facts, then you can also check out the book below.

A Female Genius: 
How Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's Daughter, 
Started the Computer Age
by James Essinger

In his book, James Essinger details the life of the often overlooked Ada Lovelace.  She was not just Lord Byron's daughter, but a woman ahead of her time.  Overcoming obstacles and attitudes about women, Lovelace worked hard to accomplish what she wanted.  Essinger seeks to show readers her story and prove that Lovelace's work, if it had been taken seriously at the time, could have jump started the computer age.

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