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[Perspectives] Ada Lovelace: in search of “a calculus of the nervous system”

Ada Lovelace (1815–52) is routinely dubbed the world’s first computer programmer, which together with the notoriety of her conspicuously absent father, the poet Lord Byron, makes her an intriguing figure. However, her status as a pioneering woman in science has reduced her to a symbol of forgotten genius, while an equally unbalanced backlash damns her, in the words of one historian, as “a manic depressive with the most amazing delusions about her own talents”.