Happy (belated) Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day was March 24th. It’s a day people were commemorating women in technology in honor of the woman Babbage called the Enchantress of Numbers[1].

No need for me to reiterate what so many others have already said about Ada Lovelace Day. Instead, I’ll just note the person that came to mind when I read the following:

Ada Lovelace represented the meeting of two alternative worlds: the romanticism and art of her father versus the rationality and science of her mother. — Science Museum

I’ve known Sara for more than 10 years. At that time, she was working hard to establish her career as a visual artist. We met while attending open figure drawing sessions. I had an undergraduate degree in painting, but found that I had neither the passion nor the talent that being a professional artist required. I did discover, or, rather, rediscover, a passion and talent for computer programming. I’m fortunate that one of the two things I love earns a living.

Nevertheless, I still like art, and am particularly fond of life drawing. As Sara and I learned more about each other, we discovered a common interest in science.

Sara always impressed me not only for her excellence as an artist, but for her discipline. If she’d lived on the East Coast, making a career would have been easier, but even then, being an artist is difficult and success is rare.

When Sara eventually returned to school she found that her interest in science and math wasn’t just an interest, but a talent and a passion. She applied her tenacious discipline and sterling intellect to getting her undergraduate degree. Immediately she went on to post-graduate work. Currently she’s obtaining her Masters and Doctorate of Mathematics. Concurrently.

Ada Lovelace Day brought Sara to mind because she is a credit to the world of mathematics, while remaining an artist. She’s made me see that there isn’t a fissure between the two avocations of art and science. The cliche is that mathematicians are often also musicians, but they are also artists.

I wonder what it was like to be a friend to Ada Lovelace? A little intimidating: a little thrilling. I know it embarrasses Sara, but, it can’t be helped. She is one of my heroes.

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3 thoughts on “Happy (belated) Ada Lovelace Day

  1. I’ve wondered if, as you call it, the “fissure between the two avocations of art and science”, to some extent arose from that whole ‘left-brain-right-brain’ silliness that was popular in the 70s and 80s.

    I remember your painting from those undergrad days at UNM and I liked it -A LOT!

    Like you, I’ve morphed into a techie since then (DB design and admin) but have never quite forgiven myself for it (except on pay day).

    On another note, Jim Jacob has a nice display of linocuts here:
    http://www.unm.edu/~jjacob/pages/info.html

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