Ada Lovelace - The Enchantress of Numbers

Historically, women haven't always had access to formal education because we men are dicks, and we've rationalized our repression of women with the wildest and most inexcusable of excuses. But in those rare cases when individual women have had the fortune of receiving an education, they've certainly known how to leave their mark.

I don't know who my favorite female intellectual is (probably Émilie du Châtelet), but one who ranks in the top 10 would have to be Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron), and that's because the woman and her vision are simply remarkable.

For instance, she wrote the very first computer program... two hundred years before there were computers :)



Anyway, if you're interested in her personal life, you can listen to the lovely Stuff You Missed in History Class ladies:



If you want to get more into the programming and Babbage's analytical engine, perhaps the guys at Tech Stuff are more to your liking:



And for the more scholarly treatment, check out In Our Time, with Melvin Bragg.
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