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Ada's Algorithm


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Table of Contents

Preface1 Poetic Beginnings2 Lord Byron: A Scandalous Ancestry3 Annabella: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes4 The Manor of Parallelograms5 The Art of Flying6 Love7 Silken Threads8 When Ada Met Charles9 The Thinking Machine10 Kinship11 Mad Scientist12 The Analytical Engine13 The Jacquard Loom14 A Mind with a View15 Ada's Offer to Babbage16 The Enchantress of Number17 A Horrible Death18 RedemptionAfterwordNotesAcknowledgementsIndex

About the Author

James Essinger studied at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He writes about ideas that have had a seminal impact on the modern world and currently lives in Canterbury.


Anyone who thinks [Lovelace's] famous contribution to computer science is overrated, should read James Essinger's new biography... This concise and readable account gives Lovelace's work the respect it deserves.'-Engineering and Technology Magazine; 'Entertaining and illuminating.'-Times Literary Supplement; 'Essinger displays not only verve and affection ... but also great scholarship.'-Times Educational Supplement; 'The story [that] might have kick-started the computer age a century sooner.'-Independent on Sunday; 'First lady of computers... what mark Ada might have made.'; -Sunday Express; 'Appealing.'-BBC Focus Magazine; '[An] engrossing biography.'-New York Times Book Review; 'A tantalizing topic... The story of a society proceeding irrevocably but ambivalently into the modern age, enthralled by advances in science and technology, adapting to new social mores, and yet still beholden to many antiquated traditions.'; -Wall Street Journal; 'Essinger is a terrific storyteller, and he knows a great story when he sees it. Ada's Algorithm is a riveting read.'-American Scientist; 'A fine new Lovelace biography... We need her as a symbol...of all the women who have contributed to the progress of science and technology, and of all the women who might have contributed if given the chance.'; -Slate; 'Readers are treated to an intimate portrait of Lovelace's short but significant life along with an abbreviated history of 19th-century high-society London.'-New Criterion; 'Irresistible ... If more people could have understood Babbage's machine the way Lovelace did - indeed, if they had not all but ignored her paper, perhaps because the author was a woman - computing might have had a far earlier start.'; -Chicago Tribune; 'A revealing firsthand look into Ada's life and her relationship with Babbage, relying heavily on their journal entries and letters to each other... One of the most innovative minds of the 19th century.'-Boston Globe; 'Stepping out of the long shadow of Lord Byron's legacy, Essinger follows the visionary mind of Lovelace as she, applying her educated mind to the 'Analytical Engine,' creates the first recognized algorithm and casts a shadow on modern technology as long as her father's on poetry.'-Biographile, Required Reading; '[Essinger] presents Ada's story with great enthusiasm and rich detail... Ada continues to inspire, and by using her own voice via letters and research, the author brings her to life for a new generation of intrepid female innovators. A robust, engaging and exciting biography.'-Kirkus Reviews; 'Absorbing... Essinger's tome is undergirded by academic research, but it is the author's prose, both graceful and confident, that will draw in a general readership. Readers are treated to an intimate portrait of Lovelace's short but significant life...along with an abbreviated history of 19th-century high-society London.'-Publishers Weekly; 'The author provides an engaging...look at [Lovelace's] parents' romance, her childhood, her lifelong fascination with mathematics, and, mostly, her friendship with [Charles Babbage].'; -Booklist; 'unfolding, generating a sense of place, time, drama and, at times, delectable gossip.'-PC Magazine; 'The biography contains just the kind of moments of triumph I like to read about: Ada overcoming obstacles to get an education and make genius contributions to science.'-Bitch Magazine; 'Essinger describes [Lovelace's] life with obvious respect, perhaps admiration, but also with a careful sense of journalistic objectivity and precision.'-Geeky Library; 'A portrait of a particularly fascinating woman.'-Jezebel; 'A window on the life of one of the world's first celebrity scientists.'-io9

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