Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shakespeare's Sister

"I can throw rays from every quarter of the universe into one vast focus."

did you know the first computer programmer was a Lady?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is sometimes portrayed in popular culture as the "World's First Computer Programmer".[1][2]

She was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron (with Anne Isabella Milbanke), but had no relationship with her father, who died when she was nine. As a young adult she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage's work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843 she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with a set of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Though Babbage's engine was not built until 1989-91, Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.~Wiki

-but did she have a room of one's own?

She pondered her growing powers of mind. They were not strictly mathematical, as she saw it. She saw mathematics as merely a part of a greater imaginative world. Mathematical transformations reminded herof certain sprites & fairies one reads of, who are at one’s elbows in one shape now, & the next minute in a form most dissimilar; and uncommonly deceptive, troublesome & tantalizing are the mathematical sprites & fairies sometimes; like the types I have found for them in the world of Fiction.” Imaginationthe cherished quality. She mused on it; it was her heritage from her never-present father.

We talk much of Imagination. We talk of the Imagination of Poets, the Imagination of Artists &c; I am inclined to think that in general we don’t know very exactly what we are talking about. . . .

It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science. It is that which feels & discovers what is, the real which we see not, which exists not for our senses. Those who have learned to walk on the threshold of the unknown worlds . . . may then with the fair white wings of Imagination hope to soar further into the unexplored amidst which we live.

She began to believe she had a divine mission to fulfill. She used that word, mission. “I have on my mind most strongly the impression that Heaven has allotted me some peculiar intellectual-moral mission to perform.” She had powers. She conded in her mother:

I believe myself to possess a most singular combination of qualities exactly fitted to make me pre-eminently a discoverer of the hidden realities of nature. . . . The belief has been forced upon me, & most slow have I been to admit it even.

She listed her qualities:

Firstly: Owing to some peculiarity in my nervous system, I have perceptions of some things, which no one else has; or at least very few, if any. . . . Some might say an intuitive perception of hidden things;—that is of things hidden from eyes, ears & the ordinary senses. . . .

Secondly;—my immense reasoning faculties;

Thirdly; . . . the power not only of throwing my whole energy & existence into whatever I choose, but also bring to bear on any one subject or idea, a vast apparatus from all sorts of apparently irrelevant & extraneous sources. I can throw rays from every quarter of the universe into one vast focus.



a science of sync?

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