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The Enchantress of Numbers

For the anniversary of Ada Lovelace's birthday, let us celebrate the unlikely heroine who pioneered a field that, today, pervades nearly every aspect of our lives -- computer programming.

From the brilliant and extraordinarily well-researched comic, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbageby Sydney Padua.
Ada Lovelace was born in London in 1815, short months after news had reached England of the Duke of Wellington's victory over Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.  Romanticism was in full swing, and it was in the following year that Mary Shelley would conceive of the world's first work of science fiction, Frankenstein.

Realism, the philosophical and artistic rebellion against the emotionality of Romanticism, was still several decades in the future, but Ada's mother had her own aspirations toward a rebellion against Romanticism: a hefty dose of math and science.

At 17, Ada's mother hired Mary Somerville as a tutor, a respected researcher, science writer, an…

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