Byron and Babbage: A Calculating Story

by Suw on October 5, 2009

Film maker Rosemarie Reed is putting together a feature-length film on Ada Byron Lovelace, called Byron and Babbage: A Calculating Story, and needs your help (especially if you’re in the United States.)

The film will be based on Ada’s letters and is, as Rosemarie describes it, “a documentary with some dramatic readings”. One of Rosemarie’s previous films, Out from the shadows: the story of Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie, was recently shown at the International Science Film Festival in Paris and is in a similar vein.

PBS National will distribute the film, so it will reach 95% of American households with an expected first night viewership of at least 7,000,000 the first night. It will also probably get an international airing, and Rosemarie is also putting together a web site plus a site in Second Life.

Advisors include Betty Toole, who wrote Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers; Joan Baum, who wrote The Calculating Passion of Ada Byron; Drummond Bone, a Byron scholar from Liverpool University; Doron Swade, a Charles Babbage expert; plus an as yet unconfirmed representative from the US Department of Defense for the Ada Software project.

But Rosemarie needs letters of support from people who have been influenced in some way by Ada and who are willing to help publicise the film, be a part of the interactive website, perhaps show the film, or contribute in any other way.

Rosemarie says, “I need letters from people stating how important a film like Ada is and how they through their networks can help to publicize the film. It would be great if the women have organizations they work or belong to. If they are software developers or computer experts, this would be great. It would be best if they were Americans, as the NSF (National Science Foundation) is American.”

If you’re not American, letters would still be useful of course! The deadline is the end of October.

Please write to:

Rosemarie Reed
On the Road Productions International, Inc.
310 Greenwich Street, 21F
New York, NY 10013

Or email Rosemarie directly.

FFcommunicator October 5, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Intriguing. We at Fame Foundry would like more details on how we can help.
http://www.famefoundry.com
@FFcommunicator

J October 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Posted to Systers.

Jennifer October 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Posted to the Devchix google group.

Kaye Heyes October 7, 2009 at 10:58 am

Posted to GetSET Women – the online community for women in science, engineering and technology.

Ruth Poole October 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Posted to SWE group on linkedin.

Holly October 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Hi,

I’m an A Level Computing teacher in the UK – I found your blog by searching for how to increase women in technology (being one of a declining few here). If we can help in any way, we’d be happy to.

Olivia October 16, 2009 at 6:06 pm

I think that in Toronto, it might not be hard to find people to publicize the film. We have several interactive programs within our Universities, Ryerson has a New Media program that actually covers Ada in one of the courses taught by Dr.Slopek. University of Toronto also has an interactive program and I’m sure they too would be on board to support this sort of thing.

We also have different organizations like Interactive Ontario. There will also be also be New Media awards as well giving further access to the community in Toronto.

Alan Burkitt-Gray October 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Finding Ada would be a lot better title for the movie than Byron and Babbage: A Calculating Story

Anne October 23, 2009 at 1:37 am

This was posted by Phil Plait on twitter/facebook; passing it on via those same methods. Also, going to mention it to the head of the math & science support group in my company. Hope!

Suw October 23, 2009 at 8:16 am

Thanks everyone for your support!

Anon, A Mouse October 30, 2009 at 2:57 am

This film MUST be made. If for no other reason than she is still virtually an unknown. Both my father, a electrical engineer (over 65), and my brother, a mathematician (mid-30s), looked at me blankly, saying “who?” when I mentioned Lady Ada Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage on the difference engine.

While the reasoning behind it has changed over the past hundred years, the preconception women are somehow incapable in science and mathematics persists, especially here in the United States.

Have you contacted or been contacted by anyone at Adafruit Industries?
http://www.adafruit.com/

Leah Shanker November 3, 2009 at 4:18 am

For an educational discipline founded by the Binary Countess of Lovelace, Computer Science sure does seem to be lacking females!

<3
Thanks for making this film!

neha November 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

I like this film because this story very good

dj November 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Here’s a “thinking out of the box” thought. I’ve always wished Oprah would support women in Science and Math, and not just the entertainment world.
She’s got a huge public platform and could really change women’s lives by making science and math cool. Ada Lovelace’s story would be a great introduction. It’s a “soft” tech story, and has many possibility. It’s a human story, it involves reading/writing letters. All things Oprah likes. In the US, we just got the Amelia Earhart story; Frontline did a great piece on the financial crisis and introduced the public to Brooksley Born. Another woman broke Enron story. Oprah is getting her “OWN” network on Discovery. I’d pitch women in technology, and stories like Ada Lovelace, Mileva Maric (Einstein’s wife) like crazy. Documentaries, movies, etc. These are really interesting women, and historically they haven’t been getting a lot of notice. I’d love to see a story about Grace Hopper, an African American women in tech. There are so many stories to be told! Thanks. I can’t wait!

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