Ada Byron was the daughter of a brief marriage between the Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who separated from Byron just a month after Ada was born.
Four months later, Byron left England forever. Ada never met her father (who died in Greece in 1823) and was raised by her mother, Lady Byron.
Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill health and bursts of energy.
Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetical father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies. But Ada’s complex inheritance became apparent as early as 1828, when she produced the design for a flying machine.
It was mathematics that gave her life its wings. Lady Byron and Ada moved in an elite London society, one in which gentlemen not members of the clergy or occupied with politics or the affairs of a regiment were quite likely to spend their time and fortunes pursuing botany, geology, or astronomy.
In the early nineteenth century there were no “professional” scientists (indeed, the word “scientist” was only coined by William Whewell in 1836)–but the participation of noblewomen in intellectual pursuits was not widely encouraged.
One of the gentlemanly scientists of the era was to become Ada’s lifelong friend. Charles Babbage, (pictured above) Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, was known as the inventor of the Difference Engine, an elaborate calculating machine that operated by the method of finite differences.
Ada met Babbage in 1833, when she was just 17, and they began a voluminous correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects.
In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Ada had three children. The family and its fortunes were very much directed by Lady Byron, whose domineering was rarely opposed by King.
Babbage had made plans in 1834 for a new kind of calculating machine (although the Difference Engine was not finished), an Analytical Engine. His Parliamentary sponsors refused to support a second machine with the first unfinished, but Babbage found sympathy for his new project abroad.
In 1842, an Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea, published a memoir in French on the subject of the Analytical Engine (pictured above). Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked feverishly on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it.
These are the source of her enduring fame. Ada called herself “an Analyst (and Metaphysician),” and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer.
It was suited for “developing and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity.” Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music.
Ada died of cancer in 1852, at the age of 37, and was buried beside the father she never knew.
Her contributions to science were resurrected only recently, but many new biographies* attest to the fascination of Babbage’s “Enchantress of Numbers.”
Sydney in the 1880s was a town of pubs, oyster saloons and chophouses, with not much on offer for women.
This changed with the opening of the refined tearooms owned by Chinese immigrant Quong Tart.
The tearooms became a venue for the ‘ladies who lunched’, the social reformers and the waitresses who served them all.
The tearooms offered women of all classes a place to meet, socialise and collaborate on social causes such as the right to vote, temperance, the right for all children to attend a kindergarten and other women’s rights.
Transported to a distant land for crimes of poverty, Australia’s female convicts were charged with the task to have children with convict men.
AFTER A HARROWING six month voyage across the sea to the newly established British colony dubbed New Holland, convict women were either sold off for as little as the price of a bottle of rum or, if sent to Tasmania, they were marched to the Cascades Female Factory — a damp distillery-cum-prison.
Yet, despite their harsh treatment and dark experiences, the story of Australia’s convict women is ultimately one of triumph. It’s estimated that 164,000 convicts were shipped to Australia between 1788 and 1868 under the British government’s new Transportation Act — a humane alternative to the death penalty.
“Half the women landed in mainland Australia and half in Tasmania. Less than 2 per cent were violent felons.
For crimes of poverty, they were typically sentenced to six months inside Newgate Prison, a six-month sea journey, seven to 10 years hard labour and exile for life.
Clearly, the scope of their punishments far exceeded the scope of their crimes,” Deborah Swiss, the author of The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women, tells Australian Geographic.
Deborah became fascinated with the stories of Australian convict women following a trip to Tasmania in 2004. “Their stories immediately captured my heart when I learned that if you were a working-class girl in London or Dublin in the 1800s you had two choices: enter prostitution, which was not a crime or steal food or clothing to be able to live another day,” Deborah says. “And so I began my six-year journey of researching and getting to know these remarkable female convicts.”
Yasmina Rossi is revolutionizing the modeling industry while simultaneously empowering women everywhere.
The 59-year-old began her job as a model when she was in her late 20s—a time when most professionals are seen as too old and are forced to retire.
When she turned 45 years old, that’s when her career really took off as she worked for big companies like MasterCard, AT&T, and Macy’s.
Not only did she book big brands at an age that most in the industry would regard as “past her prime”, she also managed to secure these modeling gigs while allowing her wrinkles to stand out in her work, profoundly accentuating her natural beauty.
“I like the way I look now than how I looked 20 years ago,” she told The Sunday Times.
“My body is nicer and I feel happier than when I was 20.” When asked about her beauty-related tips, the talented woman reveals that there’s no secret trick that helps her maintain her appearance.
“All I have ever done is eat organic food – long before it became trendy,” Rossi explains.
“I take oil and use it on my skin. I put rapeseed oil on my hair. I scrub my skin once a week with olive oil and sugar. I eat an avocado a day and organic meat and fish.”
She continues on to state that exercise is key, but that you mustn’t overdo it. “This is very important,” she says. “And don’t take medicine if possible.
Go with nature instead of fighting it – this is the rule for everything.
”Whatever the secret to her beauty may be, the main takeaway from her success exceeds her personal gains.
Rossi represents a new era of beauty represented in fashion.
Though the industry has a long ways to go, she is breaking the mold and offering a step in the right direction, especially in terms of female ageism.