Literature and Science, Oxford

A news and information hub for studies in literature and science at Oxford

Leave a comment


The mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of poet Lord Byron, is celebrated as a pioneer of computer science. The notes she added to her translation of Luigi Menabrea’s paper on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine (1843) are considered to contain a prototype computer program. During her short life, Lovelace not only contributed original ideas to the plans for this early computer; she also imagined wider possibilities for the engine, such as its application to music, and meditated on its limitations. Lovelace leaves a legacy not just as a computer scientist, but also as a muse for literary writers, a model to help us understand the role of women in science in the nineteenth century, and an inspiration for neo-Victorian and steampunk traditions.

As part of the University of Oxford’s celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Lovelace’s birth, this one-day workshop will bring together graduates and early career researchers to discuss the varied cultural legacies of this extraordinary mathematician. The day will feature an expert panel including graphic novelist Sydney Padua and biographer Prof Richard Holmes, as well as a keynote address from Prof Sharon Ruston, Chair in Romanticism in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Papers on the influences of Lovelace’s work will cover a broad spectrum from literature, philosophy, medicine, computer science to science teaching and Lego!

Follow this link to register for the workshop -more information about the workshop can be found here.

Leave a comment

Science and Storytelling, Roundtable Discussion, University of Reading

Reading University’s English Literature Department is holding a public roundtable discussion on ‘Science and Storytelling’ on Wednesday 6 November 2013. This is a free event open to all.

Participants will include:

Druin Burch, Andrew Mangham, Sally Shuttleworth, Rebecca Stott and Tim Wheeler.

Wine reception: 5.30pm Museum of English Rural Life.

Roundtable: 6.30pm L022 Lecture Room G01, London Road Campus.

Science and Storytelling Poster

Science and Storytelling Poster

Roundtable map1 Roundtable map2