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Example research essay topic: Uncommonly Fine Baby Work With Babbage Lovelace - 1,021 words

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... on to his unknowing daughter. The evidence in her control over the written word was found when she translated Luigi Ferdico Menabreas sketch of Babbage's Analytical Engine, written from the material he received in a lecture on the Analytical Engine given by Babbage. The piece was published for everyone to read, but it was written in French. Lovelace and Babbage saw then the need to publish an English version of the article, which Lovelace eagerly took as her chance to work with Babbage. Her knowledge of French was great, and she translated the piece with ease, but she became engrossed in the project, adding more details about the machine than the original article had.

As work progressed, Lovelace began calling the new draft of how the Analytical Engine would work her unborn child or her uncommonly fine baby. She claimed that her child would become a man of the first magnitude and power (Baum 67). Her devotion to the project provided her with the opportunity to ignore her physical ailments, but to such a great extent that she became sickly for the rest of her life. Also, she ignored her family and her womanly chores in order to achieve the highest quality work she could. Her husband, Lord William King, Earl of Lovelace, actually encouraged her to work with Babbage and ignored her failure to take care of her family.

The uncommonly fine baby was the beginning and end of Lovelace's mathematical professional, as she called her faith in mathematics in a letter written to Woronzow Greig, son of Mary Somerville. She poured her heart into her translation and into her Notes, which were bits of information that expanded on the reliability, need, and usefulness of the Analytical Engine and which were added to the translation for more detail. She spent countless hours having Babbage check and recheck her work, and in the end, she came up with a piece worthy of publication. The only problem was whether or not she should sign her masterpiece. As a woman, her child would have not been taken seriously and would have been looked at disapprovingly. This is evident in the reaction of the Edinburgh i editors to an anonymous piece called Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.

The book was considered to have been written in a very feminine style and lacked knowledge. The editors speculated that the author was a female and concluded that it had the trac[ing] therein the markings of a womans foot (Baum 63). The author was later discovered to be one Robert Chambers to whom the editors greatly apologized. The scene made it difficult for Lovelace to sign her child for fear of that the papers miraculous findings and ideas would be ignored.

At Babbage's insistence, Lovelace signed the article A. A. L. and did the same with all her precious Notes. The piece was then published in 1844 and received rave reviews.

Lovelace and Babbage never worked on such a project again, but they had tried to develop a sure method of gambling on horses; the method failed terribly, leaving the Lovelace's in great debt. Thirty years after Lovelace's death on November 27, 1852, her full name was credited to the piece on the Analytical Engine. It was then, after Lovelace was no longer around to see it, that Lovelace finally had accomplished the task she claimed her father had passed on to her. If he has transmitted to me any portion of that genius, I would use it to bring out great truths and principles. I think he has bequeathed this task to me.

I have this feeling strongly; and there is a pleasure attending it (Nilson 59). At that time, Lovelace had achieved another task that had not been foremost in her mind, but none-the-less had been there. She had taken her knowledge and turned it into something that people could use, but she had done this at a time when women were unable to attend science debates and mathematical meetings. Cambridge University did not admit women at the time, and only at the incessant begging of other mathematicians and scientists, like Babbage, were women even allowed to attend lectures at Cambridge. Women were gaining a step into the world of men, and the reason for their advances was due to the few women who had the desire and willpower to push their way into the forbidden world. Such women as Lovelace, Mary Somerville and Florence Nightingale opened a door to women that had otherwise been locked tight.

Lovelace's uncommonly fine child was the beginning of programming. It set the Analytical Engine up to accept an input, make calculations based on the input, and produce some output for people to see. The Analytical Engine was, therefore, the design for the first general-purpose computer. Todays computers are modeled after the plans that Babbage had created, and Lovelace had created the means to make it work.

She had laid out a program and included within it several loops to compute the Bernoulli numbers. The prophetic insights of the woman, Ada Augusta Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, were greatly ahead of their time, and by some chance of fate, they were actually accepted in to the world of men. Lovelace gave birth to a new era of technology, and perhaps, that is the way it was meant to be. She struggled with her pregnancy and released a child like no other.

That child became the basis for the programming languages we know today and the particular language that was named after its mother in 1977 by the U. S. Department of Defense. The language is called ADA. Bibliography: Access Science: Biographies: Lovelace, (Augusta) Lovelace Byron, Countess of, (1815 - 1852). 10 April 2000. The McGraw-Hill Companies. 2 November 2000...

Baum, Joan. The Calculating Passion of Lovelace Byron. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1986. Cooney, Miriam P. Lovelace Byron Lovelace: First Computer Programmer. Celebrating Women in Mathematics and Science.

Reston, Va. : National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1996. Morrow, Charlene and Teri Perl, eds. Lovelace Augusta Byron Lovelace. Notable Women in Mathematics: A Biographical Dictionary. 1998 ed.


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