Video Transcript

(dramatic music plays)

Hannah Fry walks across a garden. She is in her thirties with long red hair. She’s wearing a striped navy blue and white blazer over a black dress.

Hannah says YOU MIGHT
HAVE ASSUMED THAT THE COMPUTER
AGE BEGAN WITH SOME GEEKS OUT
IN CALIFORNIA.

The BBC logo appears.

Hannah continues OR PERHAPS WITH THE
CODE-BREAKERS OF WORLD WAR II.
BUT THE PIONEER WHO FIRST SAW
THE TRUE POWER OF THE COMPUTER
LIVED WAY BACK DURING THE
TRANSFORMATIVE AGE OF THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

A large old machine works.

Hannah continues AS QUEEN VICTORIA TAKES TO THE
THRONE IN THE EARLY 19TH
CENTURY, BRITAIN IS ON THE
BRINK OF AN EVEN MORE AMBITIOUS
REVOLUTION: THE MECHANIZATION
OF THOUGHT ITSELF.
FORGED FROM BRASS AND POWERED
BY STEAM, A VICTORIAN COMPUTER
AGE.
IT TOOK EXTRAORDINARY
FORESIGHT, AND YET, IN THIS
PATRIARCHAL WORLD, THIS
VISIONARY WASN'T A MAN.
PASSIONATE AND INTELLIGENT,
LADY ADA LOVELACE.

The shadow of a toy carousel reflects on the portrait of a young woman.

Hannah says I'M HANNAH FRY.
AS A MATHEMATICIAN, I WANT TO
FIND OUT HOW THIS 19TH CENTURY
LADY PROPHESIED THE
INFORMATION AGE.
HOW SHE PUBLISHED THE FIRST
COMPUTER PROGRAM AS LONG AGO AS
1843.
AND HOW SHE NEARLY BROUGHT
ABOUT A VICTORIAN COMPUTER
REVOLUTION.
I WANT TO REDISCOVER THE STORY
OF ADA LOVELACE, THE WOMAN WHO
DARED TO DREAM OF A WORLD OF
COMPUTERS, AND TO UNCOVER HER
ROLE IN A REMARKABLE VISION OF
THE FUTURE.

[machines clicking]
Gears appear printed on an ochre coloured painting of a young woman. The title of the program reads "Calculating Ada. The Countess of Computing."

[birds chirping]

Hannah says TO FIND OUT HOW THIS VICTORIAN
LADY COULD HAVE FORESEEN THE
POWER OF COMPUTERS, I'VE COME
HERE: HORSLEY TOWERS, A DAY'S
RIDE FROM LONDON AND HER HOME
FOR MOST OF HER ADULT LIFE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Horsley Towers, Surrey."

Hannah approaches a splendid manor house.

Hannah says ADA HAD A VERY PRIVILEGED
BACKGROUND.

The caption changes to "Doctor Hannah Fry. University College London."

Hannah continues IN FACT, SHE WAS ALMOST ONE OF
QUEEN VICTORIA'S
LADIES-IN-WAITING.
SO, IT WAS NO SURPRISE WHEN SHE
WAS MARRIED OFF TO LORD KING,
SOON TO BECOME THE EARL OF
LOVELACE, A MAN WHO WAS 10
YEARS HER SENIOR AND AS
PRACTICAL AS ADA WAS
IMAGINATIVE.

(violin music plays)

Hannah says DICKENS, FARADAY, AND THE
INVENTOR CHARLES BABBAGE WERE
JUST SOME OF THEIR CLOSE
ACQUAINTANCES.
IT WAS A MAGICAL, EXCITING
TIME.
TWO OPPOSING CULTURES, SCIENCE
AND ROMANTICISM, WERE
COLLIDING.
MY HEROINE THRIVED AT THE
CROSSROADS OF BOTH.

Hannah walks into a colourful vaulted-ceiling temple and kneels next to a book.

Hannah says SHE WROTE HER DREAM OF A
COMPUTERIZED WORLD IN THIS,
TAYLOR'S SCIENTIFIC MEMOIRS.
NOW, THIS ISN'T JUST ANY OLD
BOOK; THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST
VISIONARY DOCUMENTS IN THE
HISTORY OF SCIENCE, A 65-PAGE
BLUEPRINT FOR A COMPUTER
REVOLUTION.
IT HAS COMPLEX MATHEMATICS.
IT HAS THE LAYOUT FOR THE
WORLD'S FIRST GENERAL-PURPOSE
COMPUTING MACHINE.
IT EVEN HAS THE WORLD'S FIRST
PUBLISHED COMPUTER PROGRAMS.
AND IN IT, ADA SUGGESTS A
MACHINE MADE FROM COGS AND CAMS
AND STEAM AND OIL COULD COMPOSE
MUSIC.
IN EFFECT, IT'S ADA'S KEY
MANIFESTO FOR A COMPUTER AGE.
AND ALL OF THIS AS FAR BACK AS
1843.
THIS DOCUMENT IS A FASCINATING
MIX OF SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION.
SO, HOW DID SHE MANAGE TO
EMBRACE BOTH STRANDS, LOGIC AND
THE CREATIVE ARTS?
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE WAS
ONE MAN AT THE EPICENTRE OF
EVERYTHING THAT ADA DID.
HE HAD A HUGE INFLUENCE ON HER
UPBRINGING AND WAS THE BIGGEST
CELEBRITY IN BRITAIN AT THE
TIME: LORD BYRON, POET,
PHILANDERER, ROMANTIC, AND
ADA'S FATHER.

Now, Hannah walks into a fancy living room and stands by a painting of a young man with a moustache.

Hannah says ADA WAS HIS ONLY LEGITIMATE
DAUGHTER, AND HE LOOMED LARGE
THROUGHOUT HER LIFE.
AND YET, HE LEFT HER WHEN SHE
WAS JUST A FIVE-WEEK-OLD BABY,
AND HE NEVER SAW HER AGAIN.
HER MOTHER MADE QUITE SURE OF
THAT.

(piano music plays)

Hannah says ANNABELLA MILLBANK AND LORD
BYRON MARRIED IN 1815, YET WERE
POLES APART.
ANNABELLA WAS MATHEMATICAL AND
STIFLINGLY CONFORMIST.
BYRON WAS FREE-SPIRITED AND
CARED LITTLE FOR NUMBERS.
THE SCANDALOUS LORD BYRON, AS
WELL AS PRODUCING SOME OF THE
MOST IMPORTANT WRITTEN WORKS OF
THE 19TH CENTURY, WAS FAMOUS
FOR DRINKING OUT OF A HUMAN
SKULL, HAVING A PET BEAR, AND
NUMEROUS AFFAIRS WITH BOTH MEN
AND WOMEN.
NOW, ONE SPURNED LOVER, FEMALE,
FAMOUSLY PUT IT THAT HE WAS
MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO
KNOW.
ANNABELLA AND BYRON'S MARRIAGE
LASTED FOR A VERY LONG YEAR,
BEFORE IT EVENTUALLY BROKE UP
ACRIMONIOUSLY, AS SHE KICKED
HIM OUT, COVERED HIS PAINTING
WITH A BIG CURTAIN, AND FORBADE
ADA FROM EVER LOOKING AT IT,
WHICH MUST HAVE BEEN TORTUROUS
FOR SOMEONE WITH AS INQUISITIVE
A MIND AS ADA HAD.

A close-up shot shows a black and white portrait of a woman with curly hair wearing a necklace.

Hannah says ANNABELLA LOATHED HER ESTRANGED
HUSBAND, AND WENT ABOUT PURGING
THE YOUNG GIRL OF ANY EVIDENCE
OF HER FATHER'S PERSONALITY.
VOLATILE POETIC INSANITY, SHE
CALLED IT.
SO, SHE WAS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO
TRY AND PROTECT ADA.
ANNABELLA DECIDED TO FORCE-FEED
THE CHILD ON A DIET OF MATHS
AND SCIENCE, WITH A ZEAL
BORDERING ON FANATICISM, EVEN
THOUGH THE SUBJECT WAS SEEN AS
THE PRESERVE OF THE MALE MIND.
AUGUSTUS DE MORGAN WAS ADA'S
MAIN TUTOR, AND A BRILLIANT
MATHEMATICIAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT.
HE FOUNDED THE MATHS DEPARTMENT
AT UCL, WHICH IS THE UNIVERSITY
THAT I WORK AT, BUT HE WASN'T
EXACTLY PROGRESSIVE.
IN A LETTER THAT HE WROTE TO
ADA'S MOTHER, HE EXPLAINS WHY
WOMEN ARE BEST TO AVOID DOING
HARD MATHS.

Hannah reads "THE REASON IS OBVIOUS," HE
WRITES.
"THE VERY GREAT TENSION OF MIND
WHICH THEY REQUIRE IS BEYOND
THE STRENGTH OF A WOMAN'S
PHYSICAL POWER OF APPLICATION."

The caption changes to "Augustus De Morgan, 1842."

Hannah says HE DOES RECOGNIZE ADA'S
TALENTS THOUGHT, AT LEAST, IN A
SLIGHTLY BACKHANDED COMPLIMENT.
She continues reading "LADY L HAS UNQUESTIONABLY AS
MUCH POWER AS WOULD REQUIRE ALL
THE STRENGTH OF A MAN'S
CONSTITUTION."

(soft music plays)

Hannah says SHE STUDIED VORACIOUSLY.
AT JUST 13, SHE BECAME
FASCINATED BY FLIGHT, AND
DESIGNED A MECHANICAL BIRD THAT
COULD FLAP ITS WINGS.

A stop motion clip shows a little girl holding a mechanical bird.

Hannah continues SHE WAS DEVELOPING SKILLS THAT
WERE COVETED IN THE VICTORIAN
AGE OF ENGINEERING,
INVENTIVENESS AND SCIENTIFIC
RIGOUR.
AND BY THE YOUNG AGE OF 17, SHE
WAS READY TO SHOW THEM OFF.
THE STAGE HER MOTHER CHOSE WAS
ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER
SOIREES OF THE DAY, HOSTED BY
THE FAMOUS INVENTOR CHARLES
BABBAGE AND ATTENDED BY THE
GREAT AND THE GOOD.

The shadow of a toy carousel reflects on the black and white picture of an old man.

Hannah says A GUEST WROTE AT THE TIME, "ONE
OF THREE QUALIFICATIONS WERE
NECESSARY FOR THOSE WHO SOUGHT
TO BE INVITED: INTELLECT,
BEAUTY, OR RANK."
THE YOUNG LADY LOVELACE HAD
ALL THREE.
AT THE PARTY, BABBAGE WAS KEEN
TO UNVEIL A NEW CREATION TO HIS
SELECT AUDIENCE.
HE CALLED IT THE DIFFERENCE
ENGINE, THE MOST AMBITIOUS
MECHANICAL CALCULATOR EVER
DESIGNED.

(piano music plays)
A stop motion clip shows a man turning a crank handle as a young woman observes him.

Hannah says ITS MATHEMATICAL ELEGANCE
IMPRESSED THE YOUNG ADA.

Hannah watches a display case containing a large bronze calculator.

Hannah says AND THIS IS THE ACTUAL MACHINE
THAT ADA WOULD HAVE SEEN AT
BABBAGE'S - JUST A SMALL SAMPLE
OF WHAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN HAD
IT BEEN BUILT FULLY, BUT ENOUGH
TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKED,
AND ENOUGH TO SPARK HER
IMAGINATION.
AND MAYBE SOMEWHERE ON THERE
STILL IS A COUPLE OF ADA'S
FINGERPRINTS LEFT OVER.
THE MACHINE WOULD DO THE WORK
OF A WHOLE ARMY OF
MATHEMATICIANS, A BODY OF MEN
WHO WERE ACTUALLY KNOWN AS
COMPUTERS.
THIS WAS JUST ONE-SEVENTH OF AN
ENTIRE DIFFERENCE ENGINE.
THE FULL VERSION, CONSTRUCTED
FROM BABBAGE'S PLANS, CAN BE
SEEN AT THE LONDON SCIENCE
MUSEUM.

The caption changes to "Science Museum, London."

Tilly says THERE'S A LOSE FLOORBOARD
THERE.
Hannah says IT'S LOVINGLY TENDED BY CURATOR
TILLY BLYTH.
SO, FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT I
EVER SEE IT, WHERE SHOULD I BE
STANDING?

Tilly Blyth is in her late thirties with shoulder-length blond hair. She’s wearing a mustard cardigan over a striped dress.

Tilly says I THINK IT'S
NICE TO STAND IN THE FRONT SO
YOU CAN SEE THE WHOLE MACHINE
WORKING IN HARMONY AND HAVE A
REAL SENSE OF IT.
BUT IT'S ALSO BEAUTIFUL FROM
THE BACK AS WELL.

Hannah says OKAY, I'M GENUINELY
EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

[metallic clicking]
Tilly turns a crank handle and the machine starts to work.

Hannah says WOW.
SO, YOU'VE GOT THE UNITS AT THE
BOTTOM, AND THEN GOING UP TENS
AND HUNDREDS, RIGHT?

Tilly says THAT'S RIGHT.

Hannah says SO, EVERY TIME YOU
GO PAST NINE, YOU HAVE TO CARRY
UP THE COLUMN.
WOW, ACTUALLY, THAT IS
INCREDIBLE.
[metallic clicking]
MUST HAVE SEEMED LIKE
MECHANIZING THOUGHT ITSELF.

Tilly says YEAH, THEY
CALLED IT THE THINKING MACHINE.

Hannah says SO, WHAT DOES THE
MACHINE ACTUALLY DO, TILLY?

The caption changes to "Tilly Blyth. Science Museum, London."

Tilly says SO, THE REALLY
INCREDIBLE THING ABOUT THIS
MACHINE IS IT WORKS USING
PURELY ADDITION; IT WORKS USING
SOMETHING CALLED THE METHOD OF
FINITE DIFFERENCES.
SO, THIS ALLOWS YOU TO TAKE ANY
EQUATION AND WORK THAT THROUGH
USING AN APPROXIMATION BUT
USING ONLY ADDITION.

Hannah says SO, IN A WAY, I
SUPPOSE THIS MACHINE TAKES AN
EQUATION, BREAKS IT DOWN TO
SMALLER AND SMALLER AND SMALLER
AND SMALLER PIECES, UNTIL YOU
END UP WITH SOMETHING SO SIMPLE
IT CAN BE DONE BY THE TURNING
OF A COG.

Tilly says YEAH, EACH ONE
OF THOSE COGS IS JUST DOING
ADDITION TO THE NEXT COG.

Hannah says ADDING, ADDING,
ADDING.

Tilly says EXACTLY.

Hannah says THE METHOD ALLOWS
SIMULTANEOUS WORK ON A
MULTITUDE OF SIMPLE SUMS...
TRICKY FOR THE HUMAN BRAIN TO
KEEP TRACK OF, BUT PERFECT FOR
THE METHODICAL WORKINGS OF A
MACHINE.

A close-up shot shows numbers printed on cogs in motion.

Hannah says WHEN EACH ADDITION PASSES
THROUGH 10, THESE HYPNOTIC
SPIRALS CARRY THE ONE UP THE
COLUMN.
AND AT THE END, THE DIFFERENCE
ENGINE AUTOMATICALLY PRINTS THE
ANSWERS INTO TABLES, REMOVING
THE RISK OF HUMAN ERROR.
WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT?

Tilly says SO, IN THE 19TH
CENTURY, PEOPLE WERE USING
MATHEMATICAL TABLES FOR ALL
SORTS OF THINGS.
THEY WERE USING THEM FOR
ENGINEERING, THEY WERE USING
THEM FOR ASTRONOMY.
BUT PROBABLY MOST IMPORTANTLY
THEY WERE USING THESE TABLES
FOR NAVIGATION, SO SAILORS
REFERRING TO THESE MATHEMATICAL
TABLES.
AND IF THERE WERE ERRORS IN
THEM, THEN LIVES COULD BE LOST;
PEOPLE COULD BE SAILING INTO
THE WRONG PLACES.

Hannah says IT'S AN INGENIOUS
MACHINE, BUT THIS WAS NOT A
COMPUTER.
RATHER, IT WAS AN INCREDIBLY
ADVANCED CALCULATOR, PRECISE UP
TO 31 DECIMAL PLACES.
CAN YOU DO IT ONE MORE TIME?

Tilly says OKAY.
[laughing]

Hannah says I'M GONNA STAY ON
THIS SIDE; THIS SIDE'S
GORGEOUS.
AT THE TIME ADA SAW THE
DIFFERENCE ENGINE, IT WAS JUST
A SMALL DEMONSTRATION PIECE.
FOR MANY OF THE GUESTS THAT
NIGHT, IT WAS AN AMUSING
CURIOSITY, BUT NOT FOR HER.
THE DEBUTANTE GRASPED ITS
SIGNIFICANCE.

(opera music plays)

Hannah says WIFE OF ADA'S TUTOR, MISTRESS DE
MORGAN, WROTE OF THE NIGHT,
"WHEN MOST OF THE GUESTS LOOKED
ON, WITH THE EXPRESSION THAT
SAVAGES SHOW ON SEEING A
LOOKING GLASS, Miss BYRON,
YOUNG AS SHE WAS, UNDERSTOOD
ITS WORKING, AND SAW THE GREAT
BEAUTY OF THE INVENTION."

The caption changes to "Sophia De Morgan, 1833."

Hannah says IT WAS ENOUGH TO IGNITE
SPARKS BETWEEN BABBAGE AND ADA
NOT SEXUAL SPARKS, BUT
INTELLECTUAL ONES, AND THE
BEGINNING OF A LIFELONG
FRIENDSHIP.
AND ADA'S EXCITEMENT ALMOST
CERTAINLY GAVE BABBAGE EXTRA
VIGOUR TO PUSH FORWARD WITH HIS
AUDACIOUS PLANS.
TO BUILD SUCH A TECHNOLOGICALLY
ADVANCED MACHINE WOULD NEED
STATE-OF-THE-ART MANUFACTURING.
THE BEST ENGINEER WAS HIRED TO
MILL EACH OF THE 25,000 PARTS
TO EXACTING TOLERANCES.
IT WASN'T GOING TO COME CHEAP.
BUT IF THERE WAS EVER AN ERA
FOR EXTRAORDINARY PROJECTS,
BABBAGE AND LOVELACE WERE IN
IT.
BRUNEL WAS ENGINEERING THE
GREAT EASTERN STEAMSHIP.
WHEATSTONE HAD PROPOSED THE
WORLD'S FIRST TELEGRAPH SYSTEM.
DARWIN WAS TRANSFORMING OUR
UNDERSTANDING OF HOW WE HAD
EVOLVED.
AND FARADAY, BABBAGE'S CLOSE
FRIEND, WAS REVEALING THE
SECRETS OF ELECTRICITY.

A series of black and white pictures of the men mentioned appears.

Hannah says BRITAIN CELEBRATED
INVENTIVENESS.
BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN, BABBAGE
SHELVED HIS IDEA OF A GRAND
MECHANICAL CALCULATOR.

The caption changes to "Royal Holloway. University of London."

Hannah says HERE AT ROYAL HOLLOWAY,
ENGINEER DORON SWADE THINKS HE
KNOWS THE REASON FOR BABBAGE'S
CHANGE OF HEART.
WHY DID BABBAGE DROP THE IDEA
OF THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE THEN?

The caption changes to "Doctor Doron Swade. Computer Historian, RHUL."

Hannah and Doron stand in a stunning chapel. Doron Swade is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with white hair. He’s wearing a beige shirt and dark trousers.

Doron says THE SIMPLE
ANSWER IS HE'S HAD A BETTER
IDEA.
BUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE
RATHER CURIOUS; HE HAD A
DISPUTE WHICH WAS UNRESOLVED
WITH HIS ENGINEER, JOSEPH
CLEMENT, AND BY LAW IN THOSE
DAYS THE ENGINEER, OR THE
TOOLMAKER, OWNED THE DRAWINGS;
THE DRAWINGS BELONGED TO HIM.
SO, BABBAGE COULD NOT RECOVER
THE DRAWINGS, SO THERE WAS AN
ENFORCED GAP IN HIS PROGRESSION
OF HIS DIFFERENCE ENGINE
DESIGNS.
HE WAS LEFT WITHOUT THE
DRAWINGS; HE COULDN'T WORK ON
THEM.
WITHOUT HIS DRAWINGS, HE THEN
BEGAN TO GO BACK TO THE FIRST
PRINCIPLES AND SAY, WHAT WAS HE
TRYING TO DO HERE?
AND IN THE COURSE OF THOSE
REFLECTIONS, HE HAD THE SECOND
IDEA, WHICH IS AN ENGINE THAT
WOULD VASTLY SUPERSEDE IN
ASPIRATION AND CAPABILITY, AND
THAT WAS THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE.

Hannah says BABBAGE'S NEW IDEA
WAS AUDACIOUS...
THE MOST COMPLICATED MACHINE
EVER CONCEIVED.
HE CALLED IT THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE, AND IT WOULD DEFINE
ADA'S LEGACY.
SO, I'VE HAD A LITTLE LOOK AT
THE PLANS FOR THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE, AND THE FIRST THING
THAT REALLY STRIKES YOU,
ESPECIALLY IN COMPARISON TO THE
DIFFERENCE ENGINE, IS JUST THE
SIZE OF IT.
I MEAN, THIS THING IS VAST,
RIGHT?

Doron says IT IS
ENORMOUS, AND PROBABLY ONE OF
THE PLANS YOU MIGHT HAVE LOOKED
AT IS THE PLAN 25 FROM 1840.
Doron shows her a plan and says THIS IS THE CULMINATION OF A
MAJOR PIECE OF WORK, DONE FROM
ABOUT 1834 ONWARDS.
AND THIS IS WHERE HE TRIED TO
PRESENT TO THE WORLD THE
OVERALL CONCEPTION OF WHAT HE
WAS ABOUT, SO THIS DRAWING IS
DEEPLY, DEEPLY SIGNIFICANT.
IN IT, IT SHOWS A MACHINE
THAT'S 15 FOOT HIGH, SIX FOOT
IN DIAMETER, THE MAIN THING
THAT DID ALL THE PROCESSING.
AND THEN A STORE - OR A MEMORY,
AS WE WOULD NOW CALL IT -
EXTENDING ALMOST INDEFINITELY.
NOW, HIS ENTRY LEVEL MACHINE
HAD 100 WHAT WE CALL REGISTERS,
WHAT HE CALLED VARIABLES - 100
OF THOSE.
NOW, A MACHINE WITH 100
VARIABLES WOULD BE 45 FOOT LONG
AND 15 FOOT HIGH.
BUT HE SPOKE OF MACHINES 10
TIMES BIGGER; HE SPOKE OF
MACHINES WITH 1,000 VARIABLES.
NOW, A MACHINE WITH 1,000
VARIABLES WOULD BE FIVE TIMES
THE COMPLETE LENGTH OF THIS.

He points from the chapel’s entrance to the altar.

Doron continues THAT'S 90 FEET ROUGHLY FROM END
TO HERE, AND FIVE TIMES THAT
WOULD BE THE THING.
THE ENTRY LEVEL MACHINE WOULD
BE 45 FOOT LONG, WHICH IS FROM,
MORE OR LESS, WHERE THAT STAND
IS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE RED
STEPS.

Hannah says ABSOLUTELY
EXTRAORDINARY.

Doron says SO, YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT A MONSTER.

(soft music plays)

Hannah says THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE WAS SO HUGE BABBAGE
DESIGNED IT TO BE DRIVEN BY
STEAM.
BUT WHAT MADE IT SUPERIOR TO
THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE WASN'T
ITS SIZE, BUT A SMALL,
INGENIOUS DETAIL.
THE OTHER THING I NOTICED, WHEN
LOOKING AT THE PLANS - AND YOU
HAVE TO CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG
HERE.
BUT SOMETHING I THOUGHT WAS
KIND OF EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT
THESE PLANS WAS, IN ALL OF THE
VASTNESS OF THIS MACHINE,
THERE'S ONE THING THAT REALLY
STANDS OUT THAT MAKES IT A
COMPUTER, REALLY.
SO, I HAD MY COLLEAGUES PRINT
UP A SORT OF MOCK-UP VERSION OF
THIS, AND I WAS WONDERING IF
YOU COULD EXPLAIN IT FOR US.

Hannah hands him a small white piece.

Doron says THE
CONDITIONAL ARM.
BUT THIS ILLUSTRATES THE
PRINCIPLE OF CONDITIONAL
BRANCHING.
IT SOUNDS A COMPLEX THING:
IF-THEN.
IF THIS IS TRUE, DO THIS; IF
IT'S NOT TRUE, DO SOMETHING
ELSE.
SO, THERE'S A BRANCH; YOU CAN
TAKE ONE OR ANOTHER COURSE OF
ACTIONS.

Hannah says IT'S MAKING A
DECISION, RIGHT; IT IS A
DECISION.

Doron says ABSOLUTELY,
SO CAN ROUTE ITS WAY THROUGH,
IF YOU LIKE, A DECISION SPACE.
Holding the piece, he continues SO, THE IDEA IS THAT THIS STUD
OR DOWEL MOVES FORWARD AND
INTERROGATES THE SPACE.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN THAT
SPACE; SO IT MOVES FORWARD.
IF THIS STUD, THE SLUG IS
ABSENT, NOTHING HAPPENS; IT
STOPS SHORT AND NOTHING
HAPPENS.
IF THIS DOWEL IS PRESENT, THEN
THAT DOWEL MOVING FORWARD WILL
ACTIVATE THIS LEVER.
SO, WHETHER OR NOT THIS IS
PRESENT, IT WILL OR WILL NOT
ACTIVATE THAT LEVER.
NOW, THIS IS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT
FOR, ONE, IT'S A GENERAL
PRINCIPLE OF COMPUTING THAT IT
CAN DO BRANCHING.

Hannah says THAT STILL EXISTS
TODAY.

Doron says ABSOLUTELY,
ABSOLUTELY.

Hannah says SO, IF YOU DID, FOR
EXAMPLE, 10 DIVIDED BY THREE,
IT WOULD GO, TEN, SEVEN, FOUR,
ONE, MINUS TWO.

Doron says ABSOLUTELY.
AND THEN THE NEXT TIME THAT
THING SAID, HAVE YOU GONE
NEGATIVE?
IT COULD SAY, OOPS, AND
ACTIVATE SOMETHING THAT WOULD
MULTIPLY BY TEN AND DO THE
WHOLE THING.

Hannah says AMAZING.

Doron says THIS IS A
REVOLUTIONARY MACHINE, IN SO
FAR AS IT EMBODIES ALMOST ALL
THE LOGICAL PRINCIPLES OF A
MODERN DIGITAL ELECTRONIC
COMPUTER, WHICH IS
COMPLETELY...

Hannah says 1840s, ASTONISHING.
BABBAGE'S PLANS FOR A
STEAM-DRIVEN COMPUTER WENT FAR
BEYOND THE COMPREHENSION OF HIS
CONTEMPORARIES.
HE DREAMT THAT ONE DAY, BANKS
OF SUCH ENGINES WOULD
INDUSTRIALIZE THE PRODUCTION OF
FAULTLESS MATHEMATICAL TABLES,
CALCULATED FROM ANY NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT EQUATIONS.
[metallic clicking]
IT FIRED THE IMAGINATION OF HIS
YOUNG PROTEGE, ADA LOVELACE.

Hannah stands by a table looking at two plans.

Hannah says SHE THREW HERSELF INTO
UNDERSTANDING THE COMPLEXITIES
OF THE MACHINE, AND EVENTUALLY
BEGAN TO REALIZE, EVEN MORE
THAN BABBAGE HIMSELF, THE FULL
EXTENT OF WHAT THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE COULD ACTUALLY THINK
ABOUT.
THE MECHANICS, THE HARDWARE,
WERE ONLY HALF THE STORY.
THE COMPUTER NEEDED SOFTWARE IF
IT WERE TO BE VERSATILE ENOUGH
TO CALCULATE ANY TYPE OF
EQUATION.
AND IT WAS HERE THAT LOVELACE
WOULD REVEAL HER GENIUS.
GRAPHIC NOVELIST SYDNEY PADUA
IS SOMEWHAT OF AN ACCIDENTAL
EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO BABBAGE
AND LOVELACE.

Hannah and Sydney travel in a train.

Hannah says WHAT GOT YOU INTO ADA LOVELACE
IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Sydney Padua is in her forties, with dark brown hair tied-up. She’s wearing glasses, a black leather jacket and a scarf.

As she draws a young woman, Sydney says IT WAS A
COMPLETE ACCIDENT.
I DID A VERY SHORT BIOGRAPHICAL
COMIC, AND, JUST DOING THAT
LITTLE BIO, FOUR PAGES OR THREE
PAGES OR WHATEVER, I BECAME
COMPLETELY MESMERIZED BY THIS
PERSON AND THE MACHINERY AND
THE PERIOD.

The caption changes to "Sydney Padua. Graphic Artist."

Sydney continues THE CONTRAST WAS SO VIOLENT AND
EXCITING, AND ALSO THEY'RE JUST
WONDERFUL PERSONALITIES; I JUST
REALLY LIKED THEM AS PEOPLE.

Hannah says HER CHARACTER, DID
IT COMPLIMENT BABBAGE?

Sydney laughs and says I THINK IN A
SENSE THEY WERE VERY SIMILAR
PEOPLE; THEY WERE QUITE LITERAL
MINDED, THEY WERE VERY...

Hannah says HEADSTRONG.

Sydney says HEADSTRONG,
STUBBORN, INDEPENDENT;
THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WANTED.
SHE LIKED TO PURSUE HER
OBSESSIONS.
WHEN SHE REALLY WANTED TO FIND
SOMETHING OUT, SHE WOULDN'T
REST UNTIL SHE GOT TO THE
BOTTOM OF IT.

Hannah says LET ME SEE YOUR
DRAWING.

Sydney says THERE YOU GO.

Hannah says I LOVE IT.
SHE'S NOT EXACTLY LADYLIKE IN
THAT ONE.
WHY IS SHE WEARING TROUSERS?

Sydney says OH, YOU CAN'T
WEAR SKIRTS IN THE ENGINE ROOM.
IT'S A VERY SERIOUS HAZARD.

The caption changes to "Paradise Mill. Macclesfield."

Hannah says NOT ONE FOR HANGING
AROUND, ADA WENT ON A TOUR OF
THE COTTON MILLS OF THE NORTH
OF ENGLAND IMMEDIATELY AFTER
BABBAGE SHOWED HER THE PLANS.
SHE CAME TO SEE THIS: THE
JACQUARD LOOM...
A STATE-OF-THE-ART DEVICE THAT
AUTOMATED THE WEAVING OF
PATTERNED SILK.
BABBAGE HAD AN IDEA TO
REPURPOSE THE TECHNOLOGY, TO
INSTRUCT HIS NEW ANALYTICAL
ENGINE.

Hannah and Sydney walk into an old loom room.

Mike Scott is in his sixties, clean-shaven with gray hair. He’s wearing a gray sweater over a pale blue shirt and a pair of glasses.

Mike says SHOW YOU HOW IT
WORKS IF YOU COME THROUGH THIS
WAY.
MAY LIKE TO STAND OVER THERE,
GET A GOOD VIEW.
NOW, VERY SIMPLY, THE JACQUARD
IS AT THE TOP, AND IT'S
SELECTING WHICH STRINGS TO LIFT
UP.
SO, WHEN YOU PRESS THE TREADLE,
YOU'LL HEAR A CLUNK UP THE TOP,
BUT YOU'LL SEE THESE STRINGS
LIFT UP.

The caption changes to "Mike Scott. Macclesfield Museums."
[loom clatters]

Mike continues SO, YOU CAN SEE THE DESIGN
BUILDING UP, SO WE'VE NOW GOT A
LEAF THERE.

A close-up view shows a red leaves pattern.

Hannah says ACTUALLY, RELATIVELY
QUICK - QUICKER THAN I WAS
EXPECTING.
THE JACQUARD MECHANISM MEANT
COMPLICATED PATTERNS COULD BE
MANUFACTURED BY UNSKILLED
WORKERS, THE LOOM BEING
CONTROLLED BY A SERIES OF PUNCH
CARDS.

Sydney says THE PUNCH CARD
GOES ON TOP, AND EACH OF THESE
LINES UP WITH A LITTLE PIN.
HOLE, THE PIN JUST GOES RIGHT
THROUGH; NO HOLE, THE PIN IS
PUSHED.
SO, IF YOU PUSH IT DOWN, THEN
YOU'LL SEE, ACCORDING TO THE
PATTERN IN THE CARDS, SOME OF
THE LITTLE LEVERS WILL GO AND
SOME WON'T.

Hannah says SO NOW, SUDDENLY,
WHATEVER WAS ON THE CARD HAS
BEEN TRANSLATED INTO THESE
HOOKS MOVING UP AND DOWN.
SO, THAT DIFFERENCE THEN,
HOLE-NO HOLE, IS THE THING THAT
CAUSES SOMETHING TO HAPPEN BACK
HERE.

Sydney says YEAH, IT'S A
KIND OF BINARY.

Hannah says THIS WAS THE HEIGHT
OF TECHNOLOGY IN A FAST
MODERNIZING WORLD.
WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WERE
MAKING OF THESE MACHINES AT THE
TIME?
HOW DID THEY FEEL ABOUT THEM?

Sydney says I THINK A LOT
OF PEOPLE FOUND THEM QUITE
UNSETTLING.
IF YOU KIND OF READ PERIOD
DESCRIPTIONS OF IT, THEY SOUND
A BIT NERVOUS ABOUT IT - WHERE
MIGHT THIS LEAD?
THIS IS WHERE YOU START SEEING
PEOPLE COMPARING HUMANS TO
AUTOMATA.
IT DOES EVERYTHING
AUTOMATICALLY: IT TURNS
AUTOMATICALLY, IT SELECTS ALL
THE THREADS AUTOMATICALLY.

Hannah says ALMOST LIKE IT'S
MAKING DECISIONS.

Sydney says YEAH, EXACTLY;
THE MACHINE IS LITERALLY
SELECTING THE THREADS.

As they talk, Mike changes the threads and continues using the loom.

Hannah says THE AUTOMATION OF
SKILLED LABOUR WAS
CONTROVERSIAL.
A GROUP OF TEXTILE WORKERS,
KNOWN AS LUDDITES, PROTESTED
THE TECHNOLOGY WHICH STEAL
THEIR JOBS.
IRONICALLY, ADA'S FATHER, LORD
BYRON, WAS A VOCAL SUPPORTER OF
THEIR MOVEMENT.
SHE HAD NO SUCH WORRIES BUT SAW
HOW THE PUNCH CARDS COULD WORK
WITH BABBAGE'S NEW ANALYTICAL
ENGINE.

Sydney says THE PUNCH
CARDS BRING IN THIS ELEMENT OF
CHOICE, ACTUALLY.
THE POWER IS IN WHOEVER
PROGRAMMED THE CARD.

(music box music plays)

Hannah says ADA WAS FASCINATED
BY THE MEN MAKING THE CARDS.
THEY WERE TRANSLATING
COMPLICATED PATTERNS, SUCH AS A
FLOWER PETAL, INTO A SIMPLE
LANGUAGE THE LOOM COULD
UNDERSTAND: HOLE-NO HOLE - THE
WORLD'S FIRST BINARY MACHINE
CODE.
SHE LATER WROTE, "WE MAY SAY
MOST APTLY THAT THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE WE USE ALGEBRAIC
PATTERNS, JUST AS THE JACQUARD
LOOM WEAVES FLOWERS AND
LEAVES."

The caption changes to "Note A, Sketch of the Analytical Engine."

Hannah says HER ENFORCED SCIENTIFIC
UPBRINGING WAS PAYING
DIVIDENDS.
IF ADA'S EARLY EDUCATION WAS
DRIVEN, SOMETIMES CRUELLY BY
HER MOTHER'S WISHES TO PURGE
HER OF HER FATHER'S POETICAL
MADNESS, THEN ADA'S 20s WAS
FIRED BY MATHEMATICAL AMBITION.
SHE ONCE TOLD HER MOTHER THAT
SHE WANTED TO COMPENSATE FOR
BYRON'S MISGUIDED GENIUS.

The caption changes to "Ada Lovelace, 1841."

Hannah continues IN FACT, SHE SAID, "IF HE HAS
TRANSMITTED TO ME ANY PORTION
OF HIS GENIUS, THEN I WILL USE
IT TO BRING OUT GREAT TRUTHS
AND PRINCIPLES."
SO, OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS, AS
WELL AS GETTING MARRIED AND
HAVING THREE CHILDREN, SHE USED
HER INTELLECT TO ABSORB AND
UNCOVER THE MATHS NEEDED TO
DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITIES OF
THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE.
SHE ALSO STARTED TO GRASP WHAT
BABBAGE'S ENGINE MIGHT BE TRULY
CAPABLE OF.
THE PROBLEM WAS HER
RELATIONSHIP WITH BABBAGE WAS
NOT EQUAL.
HE WAS THE LECTURER AND SHE THE
STUDENT.
THEN, IN 1842, SHE GOT A CHANCE
TO TURN THE TABLES.

Hannah sits at a desk in a grand living room.

She says BABBAGE WAS WOEFULLY INADEQUATE
PROMOTING HIS MACHINE, AND IN
FACT MUCH OF WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT
THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE COMES
FROM THIS KEY BOOK.
IT STARTED WITH ADA'S
TRANSLATIONS OF THE WRITINGS OF
AN ITALIAN MILITARY ENGINEER
AFTER HE ATTENDED ONE OF
BABBAGE'S RARE LECTURES.
AND IT'S ENTITLED "ARTICLE
XXIX: SKETCH OF THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE INVENTED BY CHARLES
BABBAGE ESQUIRE, BY L. F.
MENABREA OF TURIN, OFFICER OF
THE MILITARY ENGINEERS."
LUIGI MENABREA'S NOTES WERE
IMPRESSIVELY DETAILED.
BUT, LIKE BABBAGE, HE LIMITED
THE CAPABILITIES OF THE ENGINE
ONLY TO MATHEMATICS, MAKING
FOR A TOUGH READ.
IT MUST HAVE DRIVEN HER MAD.
SHE KNEW THE ENGINE WAY BETTER
THAN THIS LUIGI GUY, AND YET
HERE SHE WAS HAVING TO CHURN IT
OUT LIKE A SECRETARY.
NOW, "TO CONCEIVE HOW THESE
OPERATIONS MAY BE REPRODUCED BY
A MACHINE, SUPPOSE THE LATTER
TO HAVE THREE DIALS DESIGNATED
AS A, B, C ON EACH WHICH ARE
TRACING A THOUSAND DIVISIONS BY
WAY OF EXAMPLE OVER WHICH A
NEEDLE SHALL PASS."
BABBAGE SUGGESTED TO ADA THAT
THIS MIGHT BE A WASTED
OPPORTUNITY, AND THAT SHE
SHOULD ADD SOME OF HER OWN
THOUGHTS TO ACCOMPANY THE
TRANSLATION.
SHE WENT AT IT, IN HER WORDS,
LIKE A DEVIL POSSESSED.
DAY AND NIGHT, ADA TOILED.
FOR NINE MONTHS, SHE FORMULATED
HER THOUGHTS ON, NOT SO MUCH
HOW THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE
WORKED, BUT RATHER THE
COMPUTATIONAL POSSIBILITIES OF
SUCH A POWERFUL MACHINE.
ADA'S NOTES ENDED UP BEING
TWICE THE LENGTH OF THE
ORIGINAL, AND THERE ARE EVEN
SOME MOMENTS WHERE SHE SEEMS TO
BE ADDRESSING BABBAGE DIRECTLY.
SHE TALKS ABOUT THE USE OF THE
PUNCH CARDS, AND EVEN GIVES
SOME EXAMPLES OF
CONFIGURATIONS.
AND HERE, SHE EVEN WRITES A
PROGRAM OF HOW TO CREATE
BERNOULLI NUMBERS.
NOW, BERNOULLI NUMBERS ARE A
SEQUENCE OF NUMBERS THAT ARE
IMPORTANT IN MATHEMATICS, BUT
WHAT ADA'S DONE IS WRITTEN
ALMOST A RECIPE FOR HOW TO MAKE
THESE NUMBERS, A SERIES OF
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS THAT
CAN BE READ BY THE ENGINE.

Browsing through the pages of a book, Hannah says AT THE AGE OF 27, LOVELACE HAD
ARTICULATED THE LANGUAGE THAT
COULD INSTRUCT THE MACHINE TO
WEAVE HER ALGEBRAIC PATTERNS.
I SUPPOSE IT'S A BIT
CONTROVERSIAL TO SAY EXACTLY
WHERE THE BALANCE OF CREDIT
LIES BETWEEN ADA AND BABBAGE
FOR THIS PROGRAM.
ULTIMATELY, IT WAS BABBAGE'S
MACHINE, SO HE MUST HAVE KNOWN
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKED.
BUT WHAT YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH
IS THAT THIS BOOK MAKES ADA THE
WORLD'S FIRST PUBLISHED
COMPUTER PROGRAMMER, IN 1843.
BUT FOR ME, IT'S NOT WHERE HER
REAL CONTRIBUTION LIES.
HER NOTES SHOW ADA WAS
UNDERSTANDING HOW TO UNLOCK THE
FULL POTENTIAL OF A COMPUTING
MACHINE.
MATHEMATICIANS SEE THE WORLD IN
A VERY PARTICULAR WAY.

Hannah sits under a tree by a lake.

Hannah says AS MUCH AS YOU CAN APPRECIATE A
DAY LIKE THIS, YOU ALSO SEE THE
MATHEMATICAL PATTERNS
EVERYWHERE AROUND YOU -
EVERYTHING FROM THE MOVEMENT OF
THE SUN IN THE SKY TO THE
SURFACE TENSION IN THE RIPPLES
ON THE WATER, AND THE FRACTAL
NATURE OF THE TREES.
AND ADA, AS A MATHEMATICIAN,
WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY THE
SAME.
BUT IT'S NOT JUST IN THE
NATURAL WORLD; IF SHE WAS
LISTENING TO MUSIC SHE WOULD
HAVE HEARD THE HARMONICS AND
THOUGHT ABOUT THE MATHEMATICAL
PATTERNS THAT UNDERPIN THE WAY
THAT THE NOTES ARE CREATED.

(classical music plays)

Hannah continues SHE REALIZED BECAUSE BABBAGE'S
MACHINE COULD MANIPULATE
NUMBERS, AND THE WORLD IS MADE
OF NUMBERS, THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE COULD MANIPULATE
ANYTHING.
ADA HAD THIS LEAP OF
IMAGINATION THAT SAW THE
MACHINE AS WAY BEYOND JUST A
CALCULATOR.
IN HER NOTES, SHE WRITES,
"THE ENGINE MIGHT COMPOSE
ELABORATE AND SCIENTIFIC MUSIC
OF ANY DEGREE OF COMPLEXITY
OR EXTENT."
SHE ENVISAGES THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE AS WAY MORE THAN
BABBAGE, WHO ESSENTIALLY JUST
SAW IT AS AN ENORMOUS
MECHANICAL NUMBER CRUNCHER.
WHERE BABBAGE JUST SAW
NUMBERS...
SHE ALSO SAW MUSIC.
FOR HER, THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE
WAS A TOOL TO INVESTIGATE
UNSEEN WORLDS.
THE MATHEMATICS THAT UNDERPIN
US ALL.
SHE KNEW IT HAD THE POTENTIAL
TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

A stop motion clip shows a man stamping a seal on a document, a musical score, a painting of Ada Lovelace and a plan.

Hannah continues
SHE WROTE, "A NEW AND POWERFUL
LANGUAGE IS DEVELOPED, FOR THE
FUTURE USE OF ANALYSIS."
ADA HAD VOICED THE
ASPIRATIONS AND POSSIBILITIES
OF COMPUTING.
BABBAGE WAS ASTOUNDED BY HER
VISION.
"THE MORE I READ YOUR NOTES,
THE MORE SURPRISED I AM AND
REGRET NOT HAVING EARLIER
EXPLORED SO RICH A VEIN OF THE
NOBLEST METAL."

The caption changes to "Charles Babbage, 1843."

Hannah continues BABBAGE WROTE A LETTER TO
MICHAEL FARADAY IN WHICH HE
DESCRIBES HER AS, "THAT
ENCHANTRESS WHO'S THROWN HER
MAGICAL SPELL OVER THE MOST
ABSTRACT OF SCIENCES, AND HAS
GRASPED IT WITH A FORCE FEW
MASCULINE INTELLECTS COULD HAVE
EXERTED OVER IT."
TO UNDERSTAND HOW SHE WAS
ABLE TO MAKE THIS LEAP OF
THOUGHT, IT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER THE INVENTIVENESS OF
THE TIME THAT SHE LIVED IN.
AND ALSO, WHO HER FATHER WAS.

She unveils the painting of Lord Byron.

Hannah continues ADA HAD CREATIVITY IN HER BLOOD
AND WAS EDUCATED IN SCIENCE.
SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE NUMBERS
ON THE ENGINE COULD BE REPLACED
WITH SYMBOLS AND REPRESENT
SOMETHING OTHER THAN JUST
QUANTITIES.
SHE WAS ON THE BRINK OF A NEW
AGE OF DISCOVERY.

[angry squabbling]

Hannah continues BUT THAT'S NOT HOW IT TURNED
OUT.
SO, WHAT WENT WRONG?

Hannah stands by the Houses of Parliament.

Hannah says TO REALLY PROVE THE CONCEPT OF
A COMPUTERIZED WORLD, MONEY
NEEDED TO BE RAISED TO BUILD
THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE, BUT THAT
WASN'T GOING TO BE EASY WITH
BABBAGE IN CONTROL.
HE'D ALREADY BEEN GIVEN A
CONSIDERABLE SUM OF GOVERNMENT
MONEY TO BUILD HIS PREVIOUS
MACHINE, AND YET HE DELIVERED
NO ENGINE, NOR ANY CHANGE FROM
THE 17,000 POUNDS THAT THEY'D GIVEN
HIM, ROUGHLY THE COST OF TWO
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS AT THE
TIME.
THERE WAS MUCH DISQUIET IN
PARLIAMENT OVER THE APPARENT
WASTE OF GOVERNMENT MONEY.
NONE OF THIS WAS HELPED BY
BABBAGE'S IRASCIBLE
PERSONALITY.
HE COULD BE A REALLY DIFFICULT
MAN AND WAS CONSTANTLY GETTING
INTO ARGUMENTS WITH POLITICIANS
OVER MONEY.
AFTER ONE PARTICULARLY
FEROCIOUS ROW WITH THE PRIME
MINISTER AT THE TIME, ROBERT
PEEL, PEEL MADE HIS THOUGHTS
KNOWN IN A LETTER.
She reads "WHAT SHALL WE DO TO GET RID OF
Mr. BABBAGE AND HIS CALCULATING
MACHINE?

The caption changes to "Sir Robert Peel, 1842."

Hannah continues IT WOULD BE WORTHLESS AS FAR AS
SCIENCE IS CONCERNED."
WITH BABBAGE AT THE HELM, IT
LOOKED LIKE THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE WAS DEAD IN THE WATER.

[angry squabbling]
A male voice says ORDER, ORDER.

Hannah continues AND THEN UP STEPPED
LADY LOVELACE.
[melodious bell ringing]
ADA HAD A PLAN TO GET THE
ANALYTICAL ENGINE FUNDED.
SHE KNEW THAT SHE WAS FAMOUS,
ELOQUENT, FRIGHTENINGLY BRIGHT,
AND THE ONLY PERSON IN THE
WORLD THAT HAD RECOGNIZED THE
FULL POTENTIAL OF THE ENGINE -
NOT JUST FOR SCIENCE, BUT FOR
THE EMPIRE.
HER PROPOSAL TO BABBAGE WAS
GOING TO BE A SENSITIVE
SUBJECT.
IN A LETTER DATED 14th OF
AUGUST 1843, AFTER A FEW
PLATITUDES, SHE BROACHED IT.
She reads "I MUST NOW COME TO A PRACTICAL
QUESTION RESPECTING OF THE
FUTURE.
WOULD THERE BE ANY CHANCE OF
YOU ALLOWING MYSELF TO CONDUCT
THE BUSINESS FOR YOU?
YOUR OWN UNDIVIDED ENERGY IS
BEING DEVOTED TO THE EXECUTION
OF THE WORK."
BASICALLY, YOU STICK TO
BUILDING THE THING, BECAUSE
YOU'RE A LIABILITY WHEN IT
COMES TO GETTING IT MADE.
"YOU WILL WONDER OVER THIS LAST
QUERY, BUT I STRONGLY ADVISE
YOU NOT TO REJECT IT."
HER SOMEWHAT PRESUMPTUOUS TONE
REFLECTS THE PASSION SHE FELT
FOR THE ENGINE.
WRITING HER NOTES HAD REVEALED
THE POSSIBILITIES OF A WONDROUS
FUTURE, ONE SHE WAS DESPERATE
TO BRING TO LIFE.
BUT IT APPEARS THAT ADA HAD
CROSSED A LINE WITH BABBAGE.
HE REFUSED ALL OF HER
CONDITIONS AND ANY
RELINQUISHMENT OF CONTROL.
HE SAID NO.
IT'S NOT CLEAR WHY HER FRIEND
AND MENTOR TURNED HIS BACK ON
HER.
BUT I SUSPECT SHE UNDERSTOOD.
SHE'D CHOSEN TO MAKE HER NAME
IN SCIENCE, TRADITIONALLY AN
ALL-MALE DOMAIN.
EVEN HER TUTOR, AUGUSTUS DE
MORGAN, IMPRESSED AS HE WAS BY
ADA'S ABILITY, THOUGHT THAT SHE
WOULD FATIGUE HERSELF WITH A
STRUGGLE OF MIND AND BODY.

The caption changes to "Epson Downs Racecourse. Surrey."

Hannah walks into a horse race stadium.

She continues IT'S LIKELY THAT BABBAGE
ASSUMED THAT IF HE COULDN'T
RAISE THE MONEY, THEN LOVELACE
CERTAINLY COULDN'T.
WOMEN IN VICTORIAN SOCIETY
WERE NOT SEEN AS EQUALS.
WITH HER SCIENTIFIC AMBITIONS
IN JEOPARDY, SHE CAME HERE AND
STARTED GAMBLING.
IT RAISES THE INTRIGUING
POSSIBILITY THAT SHE WAS TRYING
TO RAISE MONEY FOR HER BELOVED
ANALYTICAL ENGINE.
I DON'T THINK THAT ADA HAD GONE
COMPLETELY BONKERS JUST YET,
ANYWAY.
INSTEAD, SHE WAS THINKING ABOUT
THE GAMBLING FROM A
MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE, IN
THE WAY THAT SHE ALWAYS DID.
NOW, IF YOU LOOK AT GAMBLING
MATHEMATICALLY, SUDDENLY YOU
DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE
REALITY OF THE SITUATION, THE
NOISE OF THE HOOVES OR THE
EMOTION OF PLACING A BET
ITSELF.
INSTEAD, IT'S AS THOUGH YOU'RE
JUST THINKING ABOUT NUMBERS ON
A PAGE IN A KIND OF
DISPASSIONATE WAY, ALMOST.

A Male Announcer says SO NINE RUNNERS,
AND LATEST BETTING SECRET
MISSILE IS AN OPEN-LOOKING
MARKET OF 4 TO 1...

Hannah says LOGIC OVER EMOTION:
EXACTLY HOW ADA HAD BEEN
TRAINED.
SHE KNEW EVEN THE SMALLEST
MISCALCULATIONS BY THE
BOOKMAKERS COULD BE EXPLOITED.

(piano music plays)

Hannah continues SHE WAS GAMBLING HER MATHS WAS
BETTER THAN THEIRS.
BIOGRAPHER BEN WOOLLEY HAS
RESEARCHED THIS PARTICULARLY
SHADY PART OF LOVELACE'S LIFE.

Benjamin Woolley is in his sixties, clean-shaven with gray hair. He’s wearing a dark purple jacket over a blue shirt.

Benjamin says WHAT ARE
YOUR ODDS?

Hannah says 8 TO 11.

Benjamin says 8 TO 11.
SO THAT MEANS THAT WHEN YOU
PUT A FIVER ON, YOU'RE GONNA BE
GETTING...

Hannah says 8 POUNDS 64.

Benjamin says
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE,
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, I THINK.

Hannah says HELLO, CAN I HAVE A
FIVER - OH, NO, A FIVER ON
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.

A Male Bookmaker says 5 POUNDS WIN NUMBER 1,
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.
THERE'S YOUR TICKET, DARLING,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The Male Announcer says CHRISTOPHER
MARLOWE...

Hannah says WHAT DOES HE EVEN
LOOK LIKE?
IT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T
DO, JUST PICK A HORSE BASED ON
ITS NAME.

Benjamin says YEAH, I
KNOW; WELL, THAT'S THE ELEMENT
OF RISK.

Hannah says GOOD FUN ANYWAY.
SO, WHY WAS SHE GAMBLING IN THE
FIRST PLACE?
WHY DID SHE BECOME SO ATTRACTED
TO THE HORSE RACES AT ALL?

Benjamin says ONE
SPECULATION, ONE POSSIBILITY OF
THE REASON THAT SHE GOT INTO
GAMBLING IN THIS BIG WAY WAS
BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO RAISE THE
MONEY FOR THE ANALYTICAL
ENGINE.

The caption changes to "Benjamin Woolley. Biographer."

Benjamin continues SINCE BABBAGE HAD COME UP WITH
THIS AMAZING MACHINE, THIS SORT
OF PRECURSOR OF THE MODERN
COMPUTER, THIS MECHANICAL
COMPUTER, AND SHE'D WRITTEN
THESE NOTES ABOUT IT, SHE'D
BECOME VERY PERSONALLY INVOLVED
IN THE WHOLE THING.
AND PERHAPS SHE SAW THIS AS AN
OPPORTUNITY OF RAISING THE
ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY NEEDED
TO BRING IT INTO FRUITION, TO
ACTUALLY BUILD THE THING.

[thundering hooves]

The Male Announcer says AND THEY'RE
OFF...

Hannah says WAS SHE DOING THIS
GAMBLING ALONE?

Benjamin says NO, SHE
HAD A LITTLE COTERIE OF MEN
SURROUNDING HER, WHICH
EFFECTIVELY ACTED AS A GAMBLING
SYNDICATE.
PEOPLE LIKE, WELL, THERE WAS A
CHAP CALLED NIGHTINGALE, ALMOST
CERTAINLY FLORENCE
NIGHTINGALE'S FATHER, ALTHOUGH
IT'S ALL FAIRLY SECRETIVE, THE
NAMES; IT'S NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR
WHO THEY ARE.
THERE'S ANOTHER ONE CALLED JOHN
CROSS.

Hannah says IS THAT THE ONE WHO
BECAME HER LOVER?

Benjamin says YES, JOHN
CROSS WAS THE SON OF ANDREW
CROSS, WHO WAS THIS FAMOUS
ELECTRICAL SCIENTIST, SOME
SPECULATE INSPIRING THE FIGURE
OF FRANKENSTEIN.
THEY PROVIDED THE MONEY BECAUSE
SHE DIDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE
MONEY HERSELF.

Hannah says BUT SHE WAS QUITE A
WEALTHY WOMAN THOUGH, WASN'T
SHE?

Benjamin says SHE WASN'T
A WEALTHY WOMAN, IN THE SENSE
THAT SHE DIDN'T HAVE CONTROL
OVER HER OWN MONEY.
HER MOTHER HAD ARRANGED THAT
SHE DIDN'T GET HER HANDS
BASICALLY ON THE FAMILY
FORTUNE.

Hannah says THE SUCCESS OF THE
ANALYTICAL ENGINE MIGHT HAVE
BEEN RESTING ON THE RESULTS OF
THESE HORSE RACES.

Benjamin says COME ON,
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE!

Hannah laughs.

Benjamin says YES!

Hannah says YOU CAN HAVE MY
8 POUNDS 64.

Benjamin says 8 POUNDS 64-
MADE A PROFIT OF 3 POUNDS 64!
THAT WAS A RISK WORTH TAKING.

[crowd chatter]

Hannah and Benjamin approach the bookmaker.

Benjamin says OKAY, PICK UP THE WINNINGS, THE
VAST WINNINGS.

Hannah says ALL 3 POUNDS 64 OF IT.
CAN I HAVE MY WINNINGS, PLEASE?

The Male Bookmaker says FIVE.

Hannah says THANK YOU.
IT'S THE BIG BUCKS.

Benjamin says IT'S THE
BIG BUCKS; WHAT A WIN.

The Male Bookmaker says THERE'S A BONUS
THERE, LOOK.

Hannah says AW, YOU'RE TOO KIND
TO ME!

The Male Bookmaker says WELL DONE, THANK
YOU VERY MUCH.

Laughing, Hannah says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
WE GOT A BIT LUCKY THERE.

Benjamin says WE EVEN
GOT SOME EXTRA, NINE POUNDS.

Hannah says YEAH, BUT HOW DID
ADA DO?

Benjamin says ADA DID
VERY BADLY INDEED.
SHE HAD THIS SERIES OF BETS
THAT SHE PUT ON IN THE SPRING
SEASON OF 1851, RIGHT HERE ON
THAT TURF, AND IT WENT VERY,
VERY WRONG.
IT RESULTED IN HER OWING
3,200 POUNDS.

Hannah says WHICH, IN 1850s, IS
A LOT OF MONEY.

Benjamin says YEAH, A
LOT OF MONEY.
IT'S PROBABLY AROUND HALF A
MILLION POUNDS.

Hannah says ESPECIALLY TO
SOMEONE WHO ONLY HAD POCKET
MONEY, REALLY, TO GO ON.

Benjamin says YEAH, SHE
ENDED UP OWING THOUSANDS OF
POUNDS TO PRETTY DODGY
CHARACTERS, SOME OF WHOM WERE
TRYING TO EXTORT MONEY OUT OF
HER BY SUGGESTING THAT THEY
WERE GOING, REVEALING WHAT
SHE'D DONE WITH HER GAMBLING
AND SO ON, WHO HAD TO BE PAID
OFF.
IT GOT VERY STICKY FOR HER BY
THAT STAGE, BUT SHE SEEMED TO
RAISE SOME OF HER OWN
CONTRIBUTION TO THIS BY PAWNING
THE FAMILY JEWELS FOR 800 QUID.

Hannah says SO THEN, DO YOU
THINK THAT ADA HAD JUST LOST
THE SYSTEM?
DO YOU THINK THAT SHE'D ALLOWED
HERSELF TO BE CARRIED AWAY WITH
THE EMOTION OF THE EVENT?

Benjamin says I THINK,
YES, IT WAS THAT SORT OF
PERILOUS COMBINATION OF
MATHEMATICS AND RECKLESSNESS OF
RISK AND MATHS, THE HOPE THAT
SHE COULD USE THE RATIONAL
METHODS THAT SHE'D LEARNED
THROUGH HER MATHEMATICS IN THIS
KIND OF RISKY ENVIRONMENT.
AND IT CAME OFF VERY BADLY FOR
HER.

Hannah says ADA'S SYNDICATE HAD
TRUSTED IN HER MATHEMATICAL
PROWESS, BUT THEY HADN'T
COUNTED ON THE EMERGENCE OF AN
OLD BYRON FAMILY VICE: A LOVE
OF TAKING RISKS.
HER DEMISE WAS SWIFT.
SHE'D WORKED HARD ALL HER LIFE,
A WOMAN IN A MAN'S WORLD.
NOW, JUST 10 YEARS AFTER
WRITING HER MANIFESTO FOR A
COMPUTER REVOLUTION, HER DREAM
WAS SLIPPING AWAY.
"MY KINGDOM IS NOT TO BE A
TEMPORAL ONE.
THANK HEAVENS LABOUR IS ITS OWN
REWARD, AND IT IS PERHAPS WELL
FOR THE WORLD THAT MY LINE AND
AMBITION IS OVER THE SPIRITUAL,
AND NOT THAT I HAVE TAKEN IT
INTO MY HEAD, OR LIVED IN TIMES
AND CIRCUMSTANCES CALCULATED TO
PUT IT INTO MY HEAD, TO DEAL
WITH THE SWORD, POISON, AND
INTRIGUE IN THE PLACE OF X, Y,
AND Z."

(Soprano singing)

Hannah reads "THAT BRAIN OF MY MINE IS
SOMETHING MORE THAN MORTAL, AS
TIME WILL SHOW.
THE DEVIL'S IN IT IF I'VE NOT
SUCKED OUT SOME OF THE
LIFEBLOOD FROM THE MYSTERIES OF
THIS UNIVERSE.
NO ONE KNOWS WHAT ALMOST AWFUL
ENERGY LIES YET UNDEVELOPED IN
THAT WIRY LITTLE SYSTEM OF
MINE.
I SAY AWFUL BECAUSE YOU CAN
IMAGINE WHAT IT MIGHT BE, UNDER
DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES.
YOUR FAIRY FOREVER, A.A.L."
ADA REMAINED SUPREMELY
CONFIDENT OF HER ABILITY.
HOWEVER, THE ONE THING LADY
LOVELACE LACKED WAS TIME.
IN 1852, ADA FELL GRAVELY ILL.
SHE TOOK TO HER BED IN THIS
VERY ROOM.
AS SHE LAY DYING, PAINFULLY AND
SLOWLY, FROM WHAT WE NOW KNOW
AS ALMOST CERTAINLY A CANCER OF
THE WOMB, SHE CONFESSED TO HER
MOTHER ABOUT HER GAMBLING
DEBTS.
NOW, WHEN SHE FINALLY DID DIE,
ADA WAS JUST 36 YEARS OLD -
EXACTLY THE SAME AGE HER FATHER
HAD BEEN AT HIS DEATH.

(piano music plays)

Hannah continues HER LIFE HAD BEEN FULL OF
REGRET.
HER DETERMINATION TO RISE FROM
THE SHADOWS OF HER FATHER HAD
SEEMINGLY COME TO LITTLE.
HER EXTRAORDINARY MANIFESTO WAS
LARGELY FORGOTTEN.
EVEN BABBAGE RARELY TALKED
ABOUT IT.
HISTORY WAS SHUTTING HER OUT.
THERE'S ONE FINAL TWIST IN
ADA'S STORY, WHICH I THINK IS
PARTICULARLY TELLING: HER LAST
WISH BEFORE SHE DIED.
AGAINST HER MOTHER'S WILL, SHE
INSISTED ON BEING TAKEN MILES
AWAY FROM HER HOME.

Hannah walks in a cemetery and goes into a church.

She continues HER WISH WAS TO BE BURIED IN
THIS TOMB, ALONGSIDE THE MAN
SHE HADN'T SEEN SINCE SHE WAS A
BABY, HER FATHER, LORD BYRON -
CHEATING HUSBAND, POETICAL
GENIUS, AND SUPPORTER OF THE
LUDDITES.
NOW, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHY
SHE MADE THIS DECISION.
PERHAPS SHE WAS TRYING TO EXERT
SOME CONTROL IN DEATH THAT SHE
LACKED IN LIFE.
PERHAPS IT WAS A FINAL ATTEMPT
AT A LASTING LEGACY.
BUT TO MY MIND, AT LEAST, ADA,
THE DAUGHTER OF ART AND
SCIENCE, WHO STRUGGLED SO MUCH
WITH THE COLDNESS OF HER MOTHER
IN LIFE, LONGED FOR THE WARMTH
OF HER FATHER.

Hannah opens a book and reads
"IS THY FACE LIKE THY MOTHER'S,
MY FAIR CHILD!
ADA, SOLE DAUGHTER OF MY HOUSE
AND HEART.
WHEN LAST I SAW THY YOUNG BLUE
EYES THEY SMILED, AND THEN WE
PARTED - NOT AS NOW WE PART,
BUT WITH A HOPE."
HER COFFIN, ADORNED WITH A
CROWN, WAS LAID BESIDE LORD
BYRON.
ADA LOVELACE RETURNED TO THE
SHADOW OF HER MORE FAMOUS
FATHER, HER CONTRIBUTION TO
SCIENCE BURIED.

An old photograph of two coffins appears.

The caption changes to "Bletchley Park. Buckinghamshire."

Hannah says IT TOOK OVER A CENTURY FOR HER
GENIUS TO BE RESURRECTED.
IT WAS THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR
TWO, A TIME OF NATIONAL PERIL.
HERE AT BLETCHLEY PARK, AMIDST
GREAT SECRECY, A TEAM OF
SCIENTISTS WERE EXPERIMENTING
WITH THINKING MACHINES.
ONE KEY PIONEER TOOK A KEEN
INTEREST IN ADA'S IDEAS OF
COMPUTER SCIENCE: ALAN TURING,
THE BRAINS BEHIND THIS MACHINE.

Hannah walks into a room and stands by a machine made up of several colourful disks.

She continues NOW, IT HAD TAKEN OVER A
CENTURY, BUT THIS WAS FINALLY
AN EXAMPLE OF MECHANIZED
THOUGHT IN ACTION.
TURING WAS FASCINATED BY HOW A
MACHINE COULD BE MADE TO
UNDERSTAND AND ACT UPON
INSTRUCTIONS, JUST AS ADA HAD
BEEN 100 YEARS EARLIER.

A black and white picture of Alan Turing appears.

[mechanical whirring]

Hannah says HE DESIGNED THIS PARTICULAR
MACHINE, CODE-NAMED THE BOMB,
AND INSTRUCTED IT TO RUN
THROUGH COMBINATIONS AND LOOK
FOR PATTERNS IN DATA.
IT WOULD PROVE VITAL IN
CRACKING ENCRYPTED MESSAGES OF
HITLER'S ARMED FORCES.
[mechanical clicking]
TURING HAD HAD THE SAME IDEA AS
ADA: THE ABILITY TO INTERCHANGE
NUMBERS AND SYMBOLS IN A
COMPUTERIZED WORLD.
IN MANY WAYS, ALAN TURING AND
ADA LOVELACE WERE KINDRED
SPIRITS.
BOTH SAW FURTHER THAN ANY OF
THEIR PEERS AS TO THE TRUE
VERSATILITY OF COMPUTERS.

Now, Hannah walks through a yellow field touching flowers.

She continues TURING DID HIS EARLY WORK
WITHOUT HAVING SEEN ADA'S
NOTES, BUT HE CAME ACROSS THEM
IN THE 1940s.
NOW, THAT MUST HAVE BEEN AN
AMAZING MOMENT, ALMOST LIKE A
DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO
LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE ACROSS
HISTORY.
NOW, TURING WROTE ABOUT ADA'S
WORK AND HER FAR-REACHING
IDEAS, AND IT'S THANKS TO HIM
THAT SHE'S BECOME KNOWN AS A
PIONEER OF COMPUTERS.
SO, HOW SHOULD WE REMEMBER LADY
ADA LOVELACE?

Hannah and Doron have a talk sitting on a bench.

Doron says THIS WAS
SOMEBODY WITH ENORMOUS TALENT,
IN AN EXTRAORDINARY
ENVIRONMENT, HUGELY PRIVILEGED
WITH A BACKGROUND THAT MADE HER
A CELEBRITY FROM BIRTH,
STRUGGLING FOR BALANCE.
HOW COULD SHE MAKE MEANING OF
HER LIFE?
AND THE MEANING SHE SOUGHT WAS
TO BE A SAVANT, TO BE SOMEBODY
WHO COULD INTERPRET THE WORLD.

Hannah says AND I SUPPOSE IN
THAT SENSE, HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
ARE UNDENIABLE, RIGHT?

Doron says YES, YES,
SHE WROTE ABOUT THE ENGINE,
WHAT IT SIGNIFIED AND WHAT IT
MEANT, IN WAYS THAT BABBAGE
NEVER DID.
IN ALL HIS 11 VOLUMES OF
PUBLISHED WRITINGS, NOWHERE
DOES HE WRITE ABOUT THE
ASPIRATIONS AND POTENTIAL OF
COMPUTING IN THE WAY THAT
LOVELACE DOES.
AND THIS IS NOT A SUGGESTIVE
HINT; THIS ISN'T A BACKWARDS
PROJECTION FROM HER OWN AGE
ONTO THE BLANK CANVAS OF THE
PAST.
THIS WAS LOVELACE THUMPING THE
TABLE, SAYING, THIS IS WHAT IS
SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS MACHINE.

Hannah says THE MODERN WORLD NOW
TEEMS WITH COMPUTERS.
THEY'RE EVERYWHERE, OFTEN
HIDDEN AS MINIATURIZED
MICROCHIPS.
IF WE DON'T TAKE THEM TOTALLY
FOR GRANTED, WE CERTAINLY
AREN'T SURPRISED THAT THEY CAN
DO SO MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLE
NUMBER CRUNCHING.
ADA HAD SEEN THIS, THE
EXTRAORDINARY FLEXIBILITY OF
COMPUTERS, NEARLY 200 YEARS
AGO.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN QUITE
SOMETHING, A VICTORIAN
INFORMATION AGE, WITH HARDWARE
DRIVEN BY STEAM AND SOFTWARE
WITH THE POWER TO UNPICK THE
FABRIC OF REALITY, DREAMT UP BY
ADA LOVELACE.

(enchanting music plays)

The caption changes to "In 1986 a new computer language was named ADA in honour of Lady Lovelace. The ADA code was adopted by UK air traffic control. Ada Lovelace finally got to fly."

The end credits roll.

Presented by Doctor Hannah Fry.

Sound, James Kenning and Dudley Houlden.

Executive Producer, Andrew Thompson.

Produced and Directed by Nat Sharman.

A BBC Open University Partnership. BBC Scotland.

Copyright BBC 2015.