Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) née Augusta Ada Byron, mathematican and known as the first computer programmer, was the only legitimate child of Annabella Milbanke and the poet, Lord Byron. Largely self-educated, she was assisted in her studies by Augustus De Morgan, the first professor of mathematics at the University of London. She married William King, 8th Baron King, in 1835 and, when he was created an earl in 1838, she became Countess of Lovelace. Her friend the author, Mary Somerville introduced her to Charles Babbage. In 1843 she translated and annotated an article by Luigi Federico Menabrea, the Italian mathematician and engineer on Babbage’s analytical engine, detailing how it could be programmed to compute Bernoulli numbers and for this reason she is known as the first computer programmer.
The early programming language, Ada, was named after her and she is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of October on Ada Lovelace Day, which raises the profile of women’s contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This statue, a collaboration between Etienne and Mary Millner, is based on the portrait oil painting by Margaret Sarah Carpenter in the UK Government Art Collection. The punch card reliefs behind the statue contain two puzzles contributed by a team of international scientists.
Location: Ergon House, Horseferry Road, Westminster, London SW1