On December 10th, 1815 Ada Lovelace was born to the poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron – commonly known as Lord Byron - and the 11th Baroness of Wentworth, Anne Isabella Milbanke. Hoping to discourage any chance of Ada becoming a poet like her absent father, Anne Isabella encouraged Ada’s study of mathematics and logic.
Ada’s success in her mathematical studies led her to meet fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage. Lovelace and Babbage’s collaborations would go on to produce the first published description of computer programming. For this reason, Ada Lovelace is often identified as the first computer programmer. Without computers, the physics community – and world - would be at a loss.
In honor of Ada Lovelace’s birthday, we wanted to highlight some of the images from our collection of computers from the past. Technology has come a long way from computers being the size of an entire office, to devices that can be held in our pockets. Our selected images include University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s “DOLLY”, the Institute for Advanced Study’s “MANIAC 1”, Bellaire’s “nCUBE-2” and other scientists hard at work with computing systems.
Please enjoy these photos from our archives. To see more images like the ones we’ve selected type the name “computer” in the search engine.