Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming

New Research Explodes Myths About Ada Lovelace (ox.ac.uk) 107

Two mathematics historians investigated the Lovelace-Byron family archives (which are available online) to confirm the early mathematical prowess of Ada Lovelace for two scholarly journals. Slashdot reader bugs2squash shares a post from the Oxford Mathematical Institute: The work challenges widespread claims that Lovelace's mathematical abilities were more "poetical" than practical, or indeed that her knowledge was so limited that Babbage himself was likely to have been the author of the paper that bears her name. The authors pinpoint Lovelace's keen eye for detail, fascination with big questions, and flair for deep insights, which enabled her to challenge some deep assumptions in her teacher's work. They suggest that her ambition, in time, to do significant mathematical research was entirely credible, though sadly curtailed by her ill-health and early death.
Ada Lovelace died in London at age 36.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Research Explodes Myths About Ada Lovelace

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Then off to management. Or, like me at 40, organized crime.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday July 02, 2017 @06:47PM (#54731785) Journal

    The work challenges widespread claims that Lovelace's mathematical abilities were more "poetical" than practical, or indeed that her knowledge was so limited that Babbage himself was likely to have been the author of the paper that bears her name. The authors pinpoint Lovelace's keen eye for detail, fascination with big questions, and flair for deep insights,

    If you keep looking at the big picture, and have a flair for deep insights, soon you'll discover eye gone values and be as impressive as Malcolm Gladwell.

    Wolfram did an analysis of her situation [stephenwolfram.com], and suggests that her capability was like that of a competent graduate student, ready to do some good work (and be a reliable manager for Babbage, who lacked self-management skills) if life (and death) hadn't intervened. The paper talks about "exploding myths" but it doesn't really, Lovlace is already extremely well revered by many, and the people who claim she is overrated are in the minority.

    • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Sunday July 02, 2017 @08:23PM (#54732177)
      Agreed, I think people get too involved in the gender politics and they completely miss the beauty of a relationship where the sum of two minds joined together become greater than it's parts. This constant barrage of gender politics of women do this better and men do that better rubbish must stop. The reality is when a man and a woman work together we become so much more than just what our gender. All this wall building between the sexes that Universities are pushing is just horrendous and naive to say the least. People are going to never have the chance to experience the beauty of surrendering part of yourself to another and experiencing 4 arms one mind two bodies.
      • by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Sunday July 02, 2017 @09:10PM (#54732375)

        Well and beautifully said.

        And may I add: Equality of the sexes is a given, it shouldn't even be a question. Equal and fair treatment, likewise. But the preaching of hatred and divisiveness that goes on in some gender studies curricula serves neither women nor men.

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday July 02, 2017 @09:23PM (#54732401)

          While I completely agree with full equality and equal rights for both sexes, its naieve and factually incorrect to suggest that both sexes have identical abilities.

          • by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Sunday July 02, 2017 @09:27PM (#54732417)

            I get your point. "Equality" is not "interchangeability." But everyone should get a fair shot.

            • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

              I can't agree more. Also true equality cuts both ways and is not selective or conditional. There is no such thing as positive discrimination.

          • its naieve[sic] and factually incorrect to suggest that both sexes have identical abilities.

            It's naive and factually incorrect to suggest that any pair of individuals have identical abilities. Or are you trying to imply that women are inherently worse at mathematical disciplines than men? Because, if so, there is pretty much no evidence that this is the case when you factor out cultural differences (and if you don't then you can easily find groups where either gender is dominant in the field).

            • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

              >> Or are you trying to imply that women are inherently worse at mathematical disciplines than men?

              No. How about you respond to what I actually wrote instead of putting words in my mouth.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        >> This constant barrage of gender politics of women do this better and men do that better rubbish must stop.

        Regardless of the fact that its true and backed up by every experiment and other evidence?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Every experiment shows every man does the same things better than every woman? Or is gender more like race, where differences within a race are greater than between races? You can go from an individual genome to a place of origin but not the reverse, because races contain such a diversity of traits that any two racially-connected ppl are likely to have more different traits than any two non-racially-connected ppl.

          Did your mind just blow?

          • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:13AM (#54733037)

            Where did I say that men do everything better than women?
            Some examples of psychological differences are that (on average of course), women have significantly better/more complex communication skills than men, while men have significantly better 3D spatial awareness than women.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > 4 arms one mind two bodies.

        -Timecube

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Agreed about the benefits of men and women working together. But don't make the mistake of thinking that universities are the only ones guilty of building walls between the sexes. Religions, legislators, media figures, universities... All have members guilty of creating or perpetuating divisions between the sexes for various reasons and with varying political leanings.

        Don't get me wrong, it's good to point out the divisiveness caused by some university courses or teachers. Just don't lose sight of the e

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:37AM (#54733209) Homepage Journal

      I guess they are referring to the persistent narrative that she was some kind of fraud and generally bad person. For various reasons a relatively small but vocal group of people feel threatened and upset by the idea of a woman being instrumental in the early development of computers.

      I could write at length about the different reasons for this, but what it boils down to is that they are debunking it. In an age where NASA has to debunk "child sex slaves on Mars" this stuff does, unfortunately, need to be said.

      • For various reasons a relatively small but vocal group of people feel threatened and upset by the idea of a woman being instrumental in the early development of computers.

        That's similar to why you want to talk about her instead of, say, Konrad Zuse. It's not based on the relative size of the contribution to computing.

    • When I read the headline, I thought the conclusion would be the opposite of the one drawn. I am sure the claims mentioned in the paper are made, but I doubt that they are widespread (I had never heard them before, and the idea that, at that time, a paper written by a man would be submitted under a woman's name seems to be a claim which requires pretty substantial supporting evidence).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've read a fair bit about her, but I've never heard anyone claim all those bad things. Can anyone point to sources saying that? Sure, I think she liked poetry, but I can't even make sense of a claim wherein her insight was more 'poetic' than mathematical. What does that even mean?

    Sometimes I think historical theories are made up to troll people. When some historian claims to have a completely new understanding of something, I read it as them trying to sell books....

  • OK, this story in not about pornography, is it... Slightly disappointed.

  • I'm a male. Not particularly a radical feminist, but I believe in women's rights and a fair playing field.
    Why the rumors about Lovelace, and the need to do special investigative work about her? Are there any male mathematicians or scientists in history that need to be investigated? Why all the rumors that Babbage must have written her paper. A woman COULDN'T have been capable?
    Just some food for thought...

    • by Kartu ( 1490911 )

      Being a feminist and "believing in "women's rights" is consistent, although goes quite a bit against a fair playing field.

      Anyhow, we had a number of female scientists that didn't need to be investigated, for instance, Emmy Noether.

  • http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggl... [sydneypadua.com]
    And you can order the book ;-)

Memory fault -- core...uh...um...core... Oh dammit, I forget!

Working...