Filed under book | Tags: · biography, computing, electricity, history of computing, history of science, mathematics, science, technology
In this engrossing biography, Dorothy Stein strips away the many layers of myth surrounding Ada Lovelace’s reputation as the inventor of the science of computer programming to reveal a story far more dramatic and fascinating than previous accounts have indicated. Working with original sources, Stein clears up a number of puzzles and misinterpretations of Ada’s life and activities.
Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was the only daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the close friend and associate of a number of the foremost scientific, literary, and artistic figures of the early Victorian period. She enjoys a growing reputation today for her report on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine—considered to be the first computer. Yet Stein shows how the often self-serving Babbage conspired to create the legend, using the Countess to promote his projects and make exaggerated claims for his engine. By placing Lady Lovelace’s report in the social and cultural context in which it was written, she finds that, far from being a clear and masterly exposition of the structure and logic of the computer, it was a rather mystical tract that dwelt on the inventor’s outdated philosophy of mathematics, and his mechanistic view of theology and the workings of capitalist economics.
Ada’s own life is vividly told, often in her own words, as Stein weaves into her narrative excerpts from letters, memoirs, and little-known documents to create an account that is at once black comedy, detective story, psychological drama, and scientific explanation. She examines the barriers and opportunities that Ada faced as she strove to develop her ambitions and search for truths that would free her of that shadow of her mysterious father and her overbearing and manipulative mother.
Stein reveals a turbulent and complex woman who tries to run away, who marries and bears three children, attempts to bury herself in the study of mathematics, and to find herself in a career in music or in writing. Ada corresponds and associates with men as diverse as Dickens, Chadwick, Quetelet, and Wheatstone. She sickens and attempts to find the cause of her malady by exploring the fringes of several sciences. Her interest in the use of electricity to treat nervous disorders involves her in the controversies over mesmerism and phrenology, and turns her from Babbage to Faraday and to Andrew Crosse, the “electrician” whose work served as the model for Frankenstein. With Ada, Stein examines the roots of the fear, fascination, and mystic awe with which we still regard the impact of high technology upon ordinary life.
Publisher MIT Press, 1987
History of Computing Series
ISBN 0262691167, 9780262691161
Filed under book | Tags: · biography, mathematics, photography, physics
Biografia matematika, fyzika a vynálezcu zo Spišskej Belej od inžiniera a historika filmu Ivana Rumanovského. Jozef Petzval sa preslávil ako viedenský profesor matematiky, ktorý výrazne zasiahol do dejín optiky a fotografie.
Publisher Osveta, Martin, 1957
Priekopníci našej prítomnosti series, Vol. 7
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Filed under book | Tags: · biography, language, logic, mathematics, philosophy, vienna circle
Ludwig Wittgenstein possessed one of the most acute philosophical minds of the twentieth century. In this incisive portrait, Ray Monk offers a unique insight into the life and work of a modern genius. Wittgenstein was a tortured man who fought his calling in philosophy and never fully came to terms with his gifts. A reluctant Cambridge don, he was uncomfortable in the university setting and believed that a professor could not be an authentic philosopher. In friendship and in love, he was attracted to gentle, intelligent younger men, yet he was so troubled by his own sensuality that these attachments existed mostly in his imagination. Based on previously unpublished Wittgenstein letters and writings, this richly textured biography reveals the connection between the tormented private man and the genius who, in the epoch-making works Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations, radically redirected philosophical thought in our time.
Publisher Jonathan Cape, 1990
ISBN 0224027123, 9780224027120
review (Colin McGinn, London Review of Books)
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Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (English, PDF, 1990, 92 MB)
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (English, EPUB, 1990)
Λούντβιχ Βιτγκενστάιν: Το χρέος της μεγαλοφυΐας (Greek, trans. Γρηγόρης Κονδύλης, PDF, 1999, 88 MB)
Filed under book | Tags: · mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, physics, science, special relativity, theory of relativity, time, vienna circle
In 1942, the logician Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein became close friends; they walked to and from their offices every day, exchanging ideas about science, philosophy, politics, and the lost world of German science. By 1949, Godel had produced a remarkable proof: In any universe described by the Theory of Relativity, time cannot exist. Einstein endorsed this result reluctantly but he could find no way to refute it, since then, neither has anyone else. Yet cosmologists and philosophers alike have proceeded as if this discovery was never made. In A World Without Time, Palle Yourgrau sets out to restore Godel to his rightful place in history, telling the story of two magnificent minds put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day, and attempts to rescue the brilliant work they did together.
Publisher Basic Books, New York, 2005
review (Kelley L. Ross)
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Filed under magazine | Tags: · autopoiesis, biology, cognition, computing, cybernetics, language, machine, mathematics
Editorial board: Gordon Pask, Humberto Maturana, Heinz von Foerster, Terry Winograd, Larry Richards (Vol 2 only)
Editor Paul Trachtman (Vol 1)
Publisher The American Society for Cybernetics
Filed under book | Tags: · 1700s, enlightenment, history of science, mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, physics, science
Emilie du Châtelet was one of the most influential woman philosophers of the Enlightenment. Her writings on natural philosophy, physics, and mechanics had a decisive impact on important scientific debates of the 18th century. Particularly, she took an innovative and outstanding position in the controversy between Newton and Leibniz, one of the fundamental scientific discourses of that time.
The contributions in this volume focus on this “Leibnitian turn”. They analyze the nature and motivation of Emilie du Châtelet’s synthesis of Newtonian and Leibnitian philosophy. Apart from the Institutions Physiques they deal with Emilie du Châtelet’s annotated translation of Isaac Newton’s Principia.
The chapters presented here collectively demonstrate that her work was an essential contribution to the mediation between empiricist and rationalist positions in the history of science.
This is the first publication on this particular aspect of Châtelet studies: Founding Physics in Metaphysics – against Newton und Maupertuis’s empiricism, as well as the first publication on a woman philosopher, physicist and mathematician of the 18th century.
Publisher Springer, 2012
Volume 205 of International Archives of the History of Ideas
ISBN 9400720939, 9789400720930
Filed under book | Tags: · biography, computing, cryptography, history of computing, mathematics, war
The full story behind the persecuted genius of wartime codebreaking and the computer revolution.
A new edition to celebrate Alan Turing’s centenary, includes a new foreword by the author and a preface by Douglas Hofstadter.
Alan Turing was the extraordinary Cambridge mathematician who masterminded the cracking of the German Enigma ciphers and transformed the Second World War. But his vision went far beyond this crucial achievement. Before the war he had formulated the concept of the universal machine, and in 1945 he turned this into the first design for a digital computer.
Turing’s far-sighted plans for the digital era forged ahead into a vision for Artificial Intelligence. However, in 1952 his homosexuality rendered him a criminal and he was subjected to humiliating treatment. In 1954, aged 41, Alan Turing committed suicide and one of Britain’s greatest scientific minds was lost.
First published in 1983, Burnett Books
With Foreword by Douglas Hofstadter
Publisher Vintage, Random House, 2012
ISBN 1448137810, 9781448137817
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