My lovely blog friend La Quemada has nominated me to post three quotes, on three consecutive days, and each day nominate three new bloggers to take up the challenge. Having contemplated this, but never being comfortable with nominations (and nine in total is a very tall order), I have decided to play fast and loose with the rules, and simply throw the challenge open to anyone who fancies a go. The exact rules, for those more conscientious, follow:
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the quotes.
So, my thanks to La Quemada, and I have decided that the theme of all three of my quotes will be women who have inspired me. We commence with…
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
The only legitimate daughter of the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Lord Byron, Ada’s mother was adamant that her daughter should not inherit her father’s wild disposition and felt that intensively schooling her in mathematics would be the best way to suppress this. Rather than stifling her imagination, though, this turned her into such a visionary and ambitious mathematician that she ended up becoming the world’s first computer programmer before any actual computers existed… though that was not for want of trying. Her algorithm was intended to run on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine: a mechanical proto-digital computer that they worked together on but was sadly never completed, though it would have assuredly been the coolest thing ever if it had been…
(From Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, Pantheon, 2015)
Ada died tragically young, at thirty six: the same age Lord Byron died at (and by sinister coincidence my own age at the time of writing this). What she might have achieved had she lived longer is something we can only speculate on, but her imagination – in what many might think of as dry fields of study – knew no limits, and carried the spirit and sublime energy of the Romantic poets into the realms of science. In her own words…
“Those who view mathematical science, not merely as a vast body of abstract and immutable truths, whose intrinsic beauty, symmetry and logical completeness, when regarded in their connexion together as a whole, entitle them to a prominent place in the interest of all profound and logical minds, but as possessing a yet deeper interest for the human race, when it is remembered that this science constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world, and those unceasing changes of mutual relationship which, visibly or invisibly, consciously or unconsciously to our immediate physical perceptions, are interminably going on in the agencies of the creation we live amidst: those who thus think on mathematical truth as the instrument through which the weak mind of man can most effectually read his Creator’s works, will regard with especial interest all that can tend to facilitate the translation of its principles into explicit practical forms.”