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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and…
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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story… (original 2015; udgave 2015)

af Sydney Padua (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
7454022,958 (4.03)100
Meet Victorian London's most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage's plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines. But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime -- for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage's mechanical, steam-powered computer.… (mere)
Medlem:velikaya1729
Titel:The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Library)
Forfattere:Sydney Padua (Forfatter)
Info:Pantheon (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 320 pages
Samlinger:My Library (Read)
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer af Sydney Padua (Author) (2015)

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Engelsk (39)  Italiensk (1)  Alle sprog (40)
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There are so many things to love about this quirky collection of short stories about an alternative universe where Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage complete Babbage's Analytical Engine, and then go on to have mathematical adventures. The footnotes to historical references, the random bits of maths, the references to being in 2D (done so much better than Flatland, which is a book I love as much as I hate it) ( )
1 stem fred_mouse | Jul 4, 2021 |
I really wanted to like this book. Despite its subtitle ("the (mostly) true story of the first computer"), this graphic novel is better described as "A (mostly) true romp through Victorian mathematicians." Which isn't a bad thing! We get a nice little primer on Babbage and Lovelace's Analytical/Difference Engines, and a bunch of whimsical one-offs with historical figures that describe various mathematical functions that I still couldn't explain to you but at least now have an understanding of. Then again, in terms of actual Lovelace and Babbage things ... well, the author's notes about the relatively little time the two had to work on things, Lovelace's illness/untimely death and the general lack of publication by the two can explain the paucity of material, but then maybe don't center your book around them? ( )
  kaitwallas | May 21, 2021 |
Charles Babbage was a Victorian inventor who came up with very, very detailed plans for what he called the Analytical Engine: a calculating machine that really would have been nothing more or less than a computer -- a primitive, limited, and clunky computer, but a full-fledged computer nonetheless -- made out of cogwheels and powered by steam. Which is an idea that, I think, just gets cooler and weirder the more you think about it. Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, a woman whose impressive intellect was deliberately channeled into mathematics by her mother in hopes that she wouldn't end up like her crazy poet father. She and Babbage hit it off wonderfully and formed a firm friendship and long-term collaboration on matters concerning the Analytical Engine. Where Babbage was focused on the mechanics of the device, Lovelace was more interested in its operation, and had some genuinely prophetic ideas about what machines like it might be capable of. She is sometimes described as being the first computer programmer.

They were also, apparently, really fascinating, eccentric, and colorful characters who make great material for a graphic novel. Although I'm not actually sure whether "graphic novel" is quite the right word for this book. It's a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, with, as the subtitle suggests, rather more of the latter than the former. Actually, its origin story is rather charming. The author initially just created a humorous little biography of Ada Lovelace in webcomic form. But she found the end of that story a little too depressing for the light tone of the comic: Lovelace, sadly, died young, and Babbage died frustrated and unfulfilled, having never succeeded in actually constructing his Engine. So Padua instead concluded her comic by imagining a "pocket universe" in which they were able to build the thing, after all, and use it to "have thrilling adventures and fight crime." The comic turned out to be quite popular, which was nice, but also led to people assuming she was now writing a comic about the alternate-universe adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, when really she was just making a throwaway joke. She kept insisting to people that no, she wasn't writing anything of the kind, even as she kept finding herself, well, sort of writing it. This book is the result!

I actually do think the Lovelace bio that starts it out is the best part. It's hilarious, informative, geeky, and delightful. The fictionalized adventures that follow are sometimes whimsical -- one of them features an Alice-in-Wonderland version of Lovelace falling through a looking-glass into the Engine itself -- but are mostly just little excuses to bring in other famous people of the time, many of whom were personally known to Babbage and Lovelace, often taking their dialog directly from their written works or letters, and providing lots and lots of factual footnotes. Which sounds a bit dry, and the footnotes do get a little out of hand in the first adventure -- something the author notices and ends up making a meta-joke about -- but overall it actually works surprisingly well. The humor is always cute and fun, the historical facts are genuinely interesting, and Padua is clearly so fond of these two nutty geniuses and enthused by her own research into them that it's truly infectious.

She also includes interesting quotes from some primary sources she's found at the end, as well as a section showing her own drawings of the Analytical Engine and taking us through its workings. (Well, in a simplified fashion, anyway, because it's all very dauntingly complex.)

Recommended for anyone who's interested in Lovelace and Babbage, the history of computer science, the Victorian era in general, or a bit of pleasantly nerdy humor. ( )
1 stem bragan | Mar 25, 2021 |
[Nota: è uscita la traduzione italiana, Le mirabolanti avventure di Lovelace e Babbage, tradotta dalla mia amica Marta Maria Casetti. Ma io avevo comprato un anno e mezzo fa l'edizione inglese e ho sfruttato l'occasione per toglierla dallo scaffale e leggerla]

Charles Babbage e Ada Lovelace sembrerebbero due personaggi dei fumetti, e infatti Sidney Padua aveva disegnato una breve storia per un Ada Lovelace Day. Ma da cosa nasce cosa, e alla fine è uscito fuori un libro intero. Solo che la storia reale è breve e triste. Ma Padua è fuori come un balcone, e così si è messa a creare un "pocket universe" dove l'Analytic Engine è stato effettivamente costruito e Ada non è morta giovane di cancro, ma ha continuato a lavorare con Babbage, partecipando a mirabolanti avventure dove troviamo di tutto, da Coleridge a George Eliot, da George Boole a Lewis Carroll. Ma questo non sarebbe ancora nulla: in un turbinio di note a piè di pagina e note alla fine del capitolo, Padua spiega per filo e per segno quali sono le sue fonti - molte frasi pronunciate dai protagonisti sono effettivamente loro - e giustifica i suoi anacronismi che nascono per esigenze umoristiche ma non sono mai così lontani dalla realtà da essere del tutto implausibili. Il libro insomma non è solo da gustare per i disegni, ma da leggere da cima a fondo. Imprescindibile. ( )
  .mau. | Mar 24, 2021 |
TL;DR Summary: I found this book amazing, inspiring, and perhaps a little magnificent. Having read it, and the author's commentary, it's easy for me to understand how the author found the subject of Ada Lovelace's life so captivating. The remainder of this review is a description of how, and why, it had such a significant impact on me when I read it.

For more than a quarter century, I recall thinking at almost all times that I disliked math. I then encountered a math teacher in college, Dr. Blaga Pauley, whose engaging and philosophical teaching style -- which felt more like a conversation about what was most intriguing about math than like formal education -- helped me realize that what I disliked so strongly was not math itself, but the way people seem to think it must be dictated and drilled. Math is, in fact, a beautiful realm of brilliant insights, elegant systems, intricate designs, and the power to create new understanding.

I was not (within myself) ready to carry on with math as a more significant pursuit on my own, yet, and a variety of circumstances conspired to keep me from getting the kind of mentorship I needed to reach that readiness. It is difficult to break free from decades of being indoctrinated in the belief that mathematics is a bureaucratic, dreary, tedious field of academic irrelevance, and other (more comfortable, at the time) interests easily distracted me from taking my education in math any further than strictly necessary for all the interests I pursued instead. Even so, the ideas around math as presented by Blaga (before she passed away) stuck with me, and led me to collect a few books for later reading -- a "later" that, until now, never came.

Along the way, I heard of this book, and someone gave it to me as a gift. Perhaps it was because I asked for it; I don't recall. Time passed, and this year (2019) I finally picked it up and read it. Reading this awoke in me a greater interest in the real-world intellectual adventures of the Countess of Lovelace (the evident originator of general-purpose programming as a field of study and perhaps even the foundation-layer of computer science) and Charles Babbage (the inventor of the Analytical Engine). More significantly for me, perhaps, is the fact this book is what seems to have finally pushed me over the precipice into a plunge into the depths of desire to really learn more about (and seek fuller understanding of) mathematics as a field of exploration rather than simple study. This book has changed my mindset again, like Blaga's instruction did almost twenty years ago, and I rather suspect that when I think back on this in a few years I will be able to say that those two events together have conspired to change my life.

I do not know whether this book can help change anyone else's life for the better, but I recommend it without reservation to anyone considering whether it is worth reading. If you hesitated to dedicate time to it before reading this review, hesitate no longer. It really was an amazing experience for me, and I hope it will be for you, too. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
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How, when, and where this vision occurred it is unnecessary for me at present to state.
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Meet Victorian London's most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage's plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines. But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime -- for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage's mechanical, steam-powered computer.

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