Ada Lovelace Events in Oxford

All events are now closed; however, you can follow the links for information about what took place.

Past events

13 October – 23 December 2015
Ada, Countess of Lovelace: computer pioneer
Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
This display celebrates Byron’s daughter Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815–52), who wrote with remarkable foresight about the potential of Charles Babbage’s calculating machine, including what is often called the first computer programme. It is based on collections held in the Bodleian Library and the Oxford Museum of the History of Science. See Ada Lovelace’s childhood letters, correspondence with Charles Babbage, and newly discovered mathematical notes and images.

Blackwell Hall, the main entrance area to the Weston Library, with a cafe, displays  and shop,   is free to enter and open to all. Opening hours 8.30-5 on weekdays, 9.00 – 17.00 on Saturdays and 11.00-17.00 on Sundays.

12-16 October 2015
Ada Lovelace Day & Wikipedia week
A series of events hosted by IT Services and the Bodleian Libraries to celebrate the bicentenary of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Open to anyone with an interest in developing public understanding of women in science. No wiki editing experience is necessary, through experienced editors are very welcome.

  • 12 October: Wikipedia: Women in Science transcribe-a-thon
    Join us for the first ever transcribe-a-thon: we’ll use Wikisource to create an electronic edition of a historic book about women geniuses. For more info, see (booking opens early September).
  • 13 October: Wikipedia: Women in Science edit-a-thon
    Wikipedia edit-a-thon: create or improve Wikipedia articles about women scientists and their achievements. For more info, see (booking opens early September).
  • 14 October: Wikipedia: Women in Science improve-a-thon
    Tuesday’s event looked at creating new articles about women in science. This session looks into Wikipedia’s quality scale and review processes, and at how we can get articles showcased. For more info, see (booking opens early September).
  • 15 October: Wikipedia: Women in Science image-a-thon
    We will illustrate Wikipedia articles with images from various sources, with a focus on women in science. For more info, see (booking opens early September).

13 October – 13 November 2015
From Ada to today: pioneering women in the development of computing
Display in the Main Entrance Hall, Radcliffe Science Library
The display starts with Ada Lovelace and her famous paper on Babbage’s Analytical Engine. It then moves on to some of the other women who have achieved landmark things in computing. To accompany these is some information about the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society, bringing it right up to the here and now.

16 October 2015
Ada Lovelace Bicentenary: celebrating women in computer science

Flora Anderson Hall, Somerville College, Oxford
The event celebrates the life of a mathematician and scientific visionary who was tutored and mentored by Mary Somerville as well as women in science more generally. The celebration is open to alumni and students from across the university as well as to current students and Fellows of the College, and to secondary school students and teachers. There will also be a limited allocation for members of the general public. Speakers will include: Cecilia Mascolo, University of Cambridge; Ulrike Sattler, University of Manchester; Ursula Martin CBE, University of Oxford; James Essinger, biographer of Ada Lovelace; Jennifer Widom, Stanford University. More information

27 October 2015
Inaugural annual Ada Lovelace Lecture

Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Professor Barbara Liskov,  MIT,  winner of the 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award.
‘The Power of Abstraction’
For more information please contact Renate Henison

For registration please see the following link-

This lecture is generously supported by Facebook.

29 October 2015
British Society for the History of Mathematics, Gresham Lecture
Gresham College, City of London
The scientific life of Ada Lovelace
Professor Ursula Martin CBE, University of Oxford. More information

14 November 2015
Celebrate Ada Lovelace, machines and material culture with a physical computing hackathon… 
Oxford Hackspace

Come together in the Oxford Hackspace to celebrate Ada Lovelace with a hackathon themed around physical computing. You could build a card reader or an adding machine, physically manifest a ‘calculus of the nervous system’, explore Flyology, or create a music machine. We’ll have access to 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, CNC machines, and much more. All levels of technical expertise are welcome. For more information please click here or e-mail

18 November 2015
Bodleian lunchtime lecture: the scientific life of Ada Lovelace
1-1.30pm, Weston Library Lecture Theatre, Broad Street
Professor Ursula Martin CBE
, University of Oxford discusses Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852, who is best known for her 1843 paper about Charles Babbage’s unbuilt computer, the analytical engine. The paper gave an account of the first ever computer programme, and had visionary insights into the power and limits of computing. The talk complements the Bodleian display celebrating Lovelace.

Monday, 30 November, 7-9pm
Ada sketches by Emily Howard
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford  (map)
We welcome you to a performance of ‘Ada sketches’ by Emily Howard, a short operatic work about the pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace, performed by students from the Royal Northern College of Music. As well as the performance and presentation of the work given by composer Emily Howard (with mathematician Lasse Rempe-Gillen), audience members will be able to participate in the composition of mathematical music by working with the musicians to turn numbers into notes.
More information

Booking essential.  Fully booked.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015 
Texts and contexts: the cultural legacies of Ada Lovelace
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford

A workshop bringing together graduate students and early career researchers to discuss the varied cultural legacies of this extraordinary figure, with keynote from Professor Sharon Rushton, Lancaster University, who will also join  graphic novelist Sydney Padua and biographers Richard Holmes and Miranda Seymour on an expert panel.  More information

9 – 10 December 2015
Ada Lovelace 200 symposium: celebrating the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford

The  Symposium, celebrating Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday on 10 December 2015, is aimed at a broad audience of those interested in the history and culture of mathematics and computer science, presenting current scholarship on Lovelace’s life and work, and linking her ideas to contemporary thinking about computing and artificial intelligence. Confirmed speakers so far  include Lovelace’s descendant the Earl of Lytton, Lovelace biographer Betty Toole, computer historian Doron Swade, computer scientist Moshe Vardi, historians Richard Holmes and Judith Grabiner, and graphic novelist Sydney Padua. Other activities will include music dedicated to Lovelace, and a dinner in Balliol College on 9 December. More information

Saturday 5 December, 10am-1pm
Mini-hack: music and computing workshop for ages 11-16
Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
Get creative in a hands-on computing workshop where we’ll be hacking code & sound at the Weston Library with Sandbox Education.