MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Conceiving Ada (1997)
Lynn Hershman-Leeson
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Bizarre, low-budget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film shows her collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, but adds many fictional elements. As far as I know, their work did not involve an attempt to understand dreams or to enumerate the possible forms of life. I also have never heard that, out of jealousy, Babbage unreasonably claimed full credit for their collaborative work. Certainly, there was a great deal of sexism that would make it difficult for a woman to be a successful mathematician in 19th century England, but this film seems to exaggerate it even beyond what it was in order to make Ada into a martyr.

But then, perhaps it should be clear that this film is fiction and not history. At the end, the pregnant 20th century programmer travels back in time and offers to put Ada's knowledge and soul into her fetus so that she may have a chance to flourish to her full potential in the more egalitarian 21st century.

Contributed by CW

As many of your readers may already know the ADA language or of it I am posting the official ADA website address http://www.acm.org/sigada/ada_95/what_is_ada.html to be viewed! There are many links to this language which was (or is?) a primary language used by DOD.

More information about this work can be found at www.imdb.com.
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Conceiving Ada
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Doing our Babbage by Ira Slobodien
  2. The Difference Engine by William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
  3. Shooting the Sun by Max Byrd
  4. The Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  5. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  6. Oracle by Greg Egan
  7. The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time by Clifford Pickover
  8. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  9. Summer Solstice by Charles Leonard Harness
  10. The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
Ratings for Conceiving Ada:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2.67/5 (3 votes)
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Literary Quality:
1.33/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction, Science Fiction,
MotifGenius, Real Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Time Travel, Romance,
TopicComputers/Cryptography,
MediumFilms,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)