Our seminar series is free and available for anyone to attend. Unless otherwise stated, seminars take place on Wednesday afternoons at 2pm in the Kilburn Building during teaching season.

If you wish to propose a seminar speaker please contact Antoniu Pop.


The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

  • Speaker:   Ms  Sydney Padua  (
  • Host:   Ross King
  • 20th April 2016 at 14:00 in Kilburn L.T 1.4
One hundred years before the first computers were built out of wires and transistors, the Victorian polymath Charles Babbage designed a gigantic steam-powered, punchcard-programmed, cogwheel computer, the Analytical Engine. His friend Ada, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, completed some of the first programs for the machine, and theorised that one day it could be used for the manipulation of any kind of information. Unfortunately Ada died young and Babbage never built his Engine, leaving their story as one of the greatest what-ifs in the history of science.

Sydney Paduas cult webcomic "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage", now a bestselling graphic novel, combines extensive research with alternate-universe comic-book escapes, where the mechanical computer is finally completed and used to build runaway economic models, defeat spelling errors, and of course, fight crime. In this talk she will tell the story of these two fascinating and brilliant eccentrics, and walk through her 3-d animations of how the Analytical Engine would have looked and operated, some of the first visualisations ever created of that extraordinary machine.

Talk objectives:

An outline of the history, mechanics, and programming of the 19th century Analytical Engine

Target audience:

Anyone interested in the pre-history of computing, mechanical computing, or looking for a light-hearted fun talk.

Tea and biscuits will be served from 3pm for an informal chat in the Staff tearoom. Please bring a mug if you have one in order to lessen waste.
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