Origins

22Mar10

Apologies for the delay in posting anything recently. Lots going on and little time to catch up on the blog posts – although I’ve copied a few things I will post later in the week hopefully.

What am I reading right now? A Tweet from Sarah Brown regarding Ada Lovelace. Sarah has mentioned a portrait of Ada that has been moved from the Government’s Art Collection to the Pilliared Room in 10 Downing Street.

The Ada Lovelace painting in the Government Art Collection: HERE

The Pilliared Room: HERE

The reason I mention this is that Ada Lovelace is a personal hero, or do I need to say heroine?

Read about her: Here

In short: Ada was Lord Byron’s daughter, a talented mathematician and is widely regarded as the first computer programmer in the world. She wrote the first recorded algorithm intended to be entered in a computing machine; Babbage’s difference engine. (HERE)

The algorithm concerned Bernoulli numbers (HERE). And this is where I approach my point of interest for blogging. Which is the matter of needing to be published and accepted first, before others, in order to be accredited as being the definitive originator of an idea.

Bernoulli numbers were discovered around the same time by the Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli, after whom they are named, but also independently by Japanese mathematician Seki Kōwa. Seki’s discovery was posthumously published in 1712 in his work Katsuyo Sampo; Bernoulli’s, also posthumously, in his Ars Conjectandi of 1713.

Being remembered as first, even posthumously it seems, in originating an idea may still have its merits. Even if perhaps you were second.

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