Ada Lovelace: Victorian computing wizard

AdaLovelaceCartoonAda Lovelace was a Victorian countess. She loved maths and helped Charles Babbage work out how to program the first ever computer. He designed it but sadly never built it. It was another 100 years before a working computer was built. Ada had to work out how it worked and how you programmed it to do things without an actual computer to work on.

While Charles thought of his computer as a big calculator to do hard sums, Ada realised that if you represented things like music with numbers then computers could do lots more. Over 150 years ago, she wrote that one day computers would be able to compose music…and now they can.

Computers use numbers as a way to represent all sorts of things: words, music, movies, photos, and lots more. It is the BIG idea behind our digital world.


As a child Ada had an amazing imagination. She dreamt of building a flying horse powered by steam! Could that now be an aeroplane? Today planes are flown by programs… and Ada and Charles were the first programmers!


Fun to do: Draw an invention

Draw a fantastic idea you have about future inventions.


CAVEMAN-iStock_000011191644IllustraMore history


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