Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Poetical Science by Betty Alexandra Toole

By Betty Alexandra Toole

Ada Byron, woman Lovelace, was once one of many first to jot down courses for, and expect the effect of, Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine in 1843. appealing and fascinating, she was once usually characterised as "mad and undesirable" as used to be her illustrious father. This publication version, Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Poetical technology, emphasizes Ada's precise expertise of integrating mind's eye, poetry and technological know-how. This variation contains all of Ada's interesting letters to Charles Babbage, fifty five photos, and sidebars that encourages the reader to stick to Ada's pathway to the twenty first century.

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Babbage recalled in Passages how he conceived the idea of the Analytical Engine: “. . it occurred to me that it might be possible to teach a mechanism to accomplish another mental process, namely – to foresee. The idea occurred to me in October, 1834. It cost me much thought, but the principle was arrived at in a short time. ” Lady Byron wrote in her journal the evening of 15 December that Babbage reported he had made a discovery “. . in the highest department of mathematics.

Her first step in February, 1828, was to construct wings. She investigated different material and sizes. She considered various materials for the wings; paper, oilsilk, wires, and feathers. She examined the anatomy of birds to determine the right proportion between the wings and the body. She decided to write a book Flyology illustrating, with plates, some of her findings. She assessed what equipment she would need, for example, a compass, to “cut across the country by the most direct road,” so that she could surmount mountains, rivers and valleys.

Appendix I and the list of illustrations cite specific acknowledgments for the material in this book. The Earl of Lytton, Somerville College, the University of Oxford and the British Library deserve special appreciation for the use of the material. Colin Harris of the Bodleian Library, at the University of Oxford, has been a major support through all three editions of Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers. I also thank my family, friends and neighbors who have put up with my detestably persevering passion for the story of Ada Lovelace.

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