Sunday, March 3, 2019

Winter Reading 2019 Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer


This well researched biography tells about the first computer programmer in the world, Ada Byron Lovelace. Ada was the daughter of Lord Byron, the famous poet, but her mother chose to raise her on science and mathematics to combat the influence of her father's heritage. The details of her course of study and relationship with her mother are covered, as well as her meeting with Charles Babbage and his ideas about a Difference Engine and an Analytical Engine. Combining the creativity of her father and her logical training, Ada developed the idea of cards to program the engines - even to do sequences and loops. 

Photos of the Difference Engine, portraits of Ada and her parents, even copies of pages from her school exercise books all add to the text. An appendix includes the notes Ada made as she translated the original article about Babbage's Difference Engine. A second appendix includes the notes from the British Association for the Advancement of Science as they debated whether to fund the construction of the Analytical Engine. There are also extensive source notes for all the quotes within the text, a glossary, and bibliography.

This is recommended for ages 10 -14. Details about Lovelace's gambling and laudanum use, among other facts, will be better understood by readers beyond the elementary grades. Publication date is set for March 12, 2019. I read an advance review copy provided by the publisher.

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