An interview with Ada Lovelace

This morning, I went to the Science Museum to talk to Ada Lovelace herself about Charles Babbage, his computing machines, and her vision and brilliance.

Ada was a most fascinating lady, and I hope that because of today, more people will know not just about her, but about all the other amazing women in technology.

I’d like to thank Steph Troeth and Steph Booth for helping me with Ada Lovelace Day. Both of them helped me to figure out what shape the campaign was going to take and were then invaluable in kick-starting it. Without their help and encouragement I’m not sure that Ada Lovelace Day would have happened at all. Thanks also go to Vicky Riddell at the BBC for deciding to run with the story on the BBC News Channel and doing such an amazing job of getting so many smart techie women on the news.

I also need to thank two men, firstly Tony Kennick, who very kindly cobbled together the Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up, and who put up with my last-minute-ness with grace and good humour.

And secondly, my wonderful husband Kevin who has provided me with endless support and help over the last three months, who shot the video above, and who came with me to BBC Television Centre this evening and helped me calm my nerves before my interviews.

Thanks are also due to everyone who has taken part. Ada Lovelace Day was a community effort, with everyone playing an important role in making it the success it is.

But it’s not over yet! We have another 15 hours before the day that is Ada Lovelace Day is finally over as midnight arrives in the Baker Islands, and we have a lot more blog posts still to be added to our Collection.

Even then, it’s not over. We have our first event booked at NESTA for 10th June – on which more to come – and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve too. So don’t go away – keep in your RSS reader, or follow us on Twitter, and keep up-to-date with our news.

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Ada Lovelace Day has begun in Kiribati!

It’s 3am in Kiribati, 2am in New Zealand and 1am in Fiji, which means it’s now 24th March and Ada Lovelace Day has started!

Some people have already blogged, and we’re beginning to see posts trickling into our Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up. We have pins on our map from New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK! When you have published your contribution, please add it to our database.

You can view the posts on the map, in a list, by language, or by subject, i.e. the woman or women blogged about. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this shapes up over the course of the next 47 hours – due to various international date line shenanigans, one day lasts 50 hours online!

In other news, Ruth Wilson of the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology emailed me to let me know that their guest blogger from today is the great-great-great niece of Ada – Honora Smith, Operational Research and Management Science at the University of Southampton.

If you’re going to the Game Developers Conference, look out for Celia Pearce and her colleagues at Ludica who have created an Ada Lovelace badge that they’ll be giving away throughout the event. The badges (or buttons, if you’re American!) are free but they are accepting donations to cover the cost. You can also buy online.

NetBehaviour are inviting all women who work in media arts and net art to join their email list for a week between 23rd and 30th March to talk about inspirational women. At the end of the week they will collate all of the posts in the thread and feature them on

And there’s more from the Science Museum on Ada Lovelace Day:

Finally, if you signed the pledge but don’t have a blog of your own, please feel free to write your piece in the comments on this Finding Ada blog post, which we’ve set up specifically for your convenience:

Don’t forget to add your comment permalink, found by mousing-over the comment timestamp, to our mash-up.

We have 1,527 people signed up to the pledge so far, which is a lot more than I ever imagined would take part. Thank you all for supporting Ada Lovelace Day – it wouldn’t have happened without you!

Ada Lovelace Day home for lost posts

If you don’t have a blog of your own, but you still want to take part, please feel free to leave your post here, in the comments. We want to provide an opportunity for everyone to participate, regardless of whether or not you have your own blog!

Don’t forget to add your comment permalink (which you can find by mousing over the timestamp of the comment once you’ve published it) to our Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up. The mash-up will let you view the posts on the map, in a list, by language, or by subject, i.e. the woman or women blogged about. We already have pins on the map from New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK!

Ada Lovelace Day news

It’s just one week now until Ada Lovelace Day, and we have some great news to announce.

Ada Lovelace Day at The Science Museum
As you may know, The Science Museum has a reconstruction of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine on display, which is worth a visit on its own. But on 24th March the museum is putting on a special treat: Ada herself will be will be walking the floors throughout the museum, telling her story.

Visit the Science Museum website for more information, especially on the day as an article about Ada by Tilly Blyth, the computing curator, will be featured on the front page.

Computer Weekly
I’ve been chatting to the lovely folks over at Computer Weekly, who happen to have an issue out on the day itself. They are going to be featuring Ada Lovelace Day in the magazine, and will be blogging as well. So take a look if you see it on the news stands, or visit their website and the WITsend blog.

Summer events with Nesta
I am particularly pleased to be able to announce that Nesta, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, is going to be hosting a series of events for women in technology over the summer. The first is scheduled for June 10th, so get that date in your diary! We’ll announce more details slightly nearer the time.

Ada Lovelace Day on Flickr
If you’re doing something on the day, or what to post related photos, we now have a Flickr group you can join.

Meanwhile, we are still working on our mash-up which will let you add your blog post, and will send out the URL for that as soon as we have it, although details will of course be posted here.

I hope you’ll agree that it’s looking like the 24th March is going to be a fun day. I’ll be going to the Science Museum to see Ada, so if you see me there please do come and say hello!

Two weeks to go until Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day itself is fast approaching – we’re just two weeks away now.

Please remember that you can talk about your tech heroine in any medium you choose: blog, video, podcast, newspaper column… the choice is up to you. Your contribution can be as long or as short as you wish, in any language, and can be published any time on 24th of March, regardless of time zone.

On the day, please use this to tag on your post, video, podcast etc.:

  • ALD09post

And if you’d like to link to us, we’re on the web here:

We’ve some exciting last-minute news brewing, so please do keep an eye out for our next announcement!

In the meantime, why not pop along to the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast to hear Aleks Krotoski, Emily Bell, Jemima Kiss and I talk about women in tech.

Finally, we currently have 1386 people signed up to the pledge. Can we hit 2000 before the 24th? Please do continue to spread the word and see if we can’t find another 614 people over the next two weeks.