New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—Lord Byron’s daughter and the world’s first computer programmer.
The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. But her mathematician mother, estranged from Ada's infamous and destructively passionate father, is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.
When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize how her exciting new friendship with Charles Babbage—the brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly inventor of an extraordinary machine, the Difference Engine—will define her destiny.
Enchantress of Numbers unveils the passions, dreams, and insatiable thirst for knowledge of a largely unheralded pioneer in computing—a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future.
- ISBN-13: 9781101985205
- ISBN-10: 1101985208
- Publisher: Dutton
- Publish Date: December 2017
The godmother of STEM
The story of our digital age is sadly lacking in its inclusion of prominent women. One notable exception is Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace. The daughter of the iconic poet Lord Byron, Ada played a critical role in shaping public perception of one of the first computing devices: Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. In her richly detailed Enchantress of Numbers, Jennifer Chiaverini presents a vivid portrait of Ada’s too-short life while illuminating the significance of her professional accomplishments.
Narrated in her keenly intelligent voice, Ada’s story is one of conflict between the two sides of her genetic and cultural inheritance: the fiery, artistic temperament of her father, who chafed against polite society’s constraints; and her mother’s desire for order and control, rooted in the conventions of England’s 19th-century nobility. Ada’s true gift is her ability to marry the sensibility of a poet to the keen mind of a scientist.
Enchantress of Numbers expertly balances scenes in royal salons and English country houses with Ada’s reflections on the mathematical principles that helped her push the potential of Babbage’s invention beyond expectations. Chiaverini’s latest will appeal to readers who enjoy 19th-century historical fiction and want a glimpse into the dawn of a technological revolution.