The Lovelace-De Morgan mathematical correspondence: A critical re-appraisal

Hollings, C
Martin, U
Rice, A

August 2017

Journal:

HISTORIA MATHEMATICA

Last Updated:

2019-04-27T19:15:06.877+01:00

3

44

DOI:

10.1016/j.hm.2017.04.001

202-231

abstract:

© 2017 The Authors Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as an early pioneer of computer science, due to an 1843 paper about Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, which, had it been built, would have been a general-purpose computer. However, there has been considerable disagreement among scholars as to her mathematical proficiency. This paper presents the first account by historians of mathematics of the correspondence between Lovelace and the mathematician Augustus De Morgan from 1840–41. Detailed contextual analysis allows us to present a corrected ordering of the archive material, countering previous claims of Lovelace's mathematical inadequacies, and presenting a more nuanced assessment of her abilities.

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