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computing Ada

December 10, 2012

If you sat at your computer today, if you googled, then you saw this image, this google doodle:


You have the person pictured in the image to thank, in part, for your being able to use that computer. And you have Shelby Knox to thank, in part, for seeing the google doodle of this person today.

It was already over half way through 2010, when Knox noticed that not even nearly half of all the google doodles were of women and that far more than half were of men. So Knox blogged, in part saying:

Google, I’ve got some suggestions for you. What about Ada Lovelace, the woman who was the world’s first computer programer and, conveniently, has a whole day dedicated to her celebration? If the guy who created the first nuclear facility in China gets a doodle, Marie Curie certainly deserves one. If you honored the birth of realism, you should also honor the (flawed, yes) godmother of feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft. What about some of the women behind the great social movements in the United States, like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height?

Women also make art and music and write, and not just in the United States. What about Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to gain entry into the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence? Bengali writer Ashapoorna Devi wrote appeals for gender and religious equality in widely read novels for both children and adults. Why not honor Miriam Makeba, known as “Mother Africa,” for her cultural role in ending apartheid in South Africa?

Looks like Google is starting to take Knox‘s suggestions.  Here’s the 2011 google doodle for Marie Curie and the December 2010 google doodle for Rosa Parks (both posted by art making google doodler Jennifer Horn). And today, December 10, 2012, we find the google doodle for Ada Lovelace.

And well before you visited this blog and read this post today at your computer, it’s very likely that you’ve already read the news of the google doodle today for Ada Lovelace.  In fact, the momentum for this day was building a good bit before, when blogger technologist activist Suw Charman-Anderson started Ada Lovelace Day somewhat reluctantly.

For those still learning about Ada Lovelace, here is a timeline of her life; a short bio with references to three full length biographies; and her published notes with her translation work that have made her famous and have aided, in part, our sitting at our computers googling.

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