Inspiration for a Program
Showcased during the Industrial Revolution in Europe, the Jacquard loom mechanized weaving using programmable punch cards. Its cards exhibited rudiments of a computer program, "a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do," later inspiring mathematician Ada Lovelace to write her own .
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Importance of Imagination: Technological Advancements
Despite the liberal arts being the ostensible antithesis of mathematics and technology, the romantic and industrial ambiance of the early 19th century encouraged Lovelace's initiative to exchange ideas between art and science with her programming work. Her work theorized the future artistic capabilities of programmable machines.
"[Lovelace] was an exemplar of the era of Romantic science, which was characterized by a lyrical enthusiasm for invention and discovery. It was a period that brought 'imaginative intensity and excitement' to scientific work. It was driven by a common ideal of intense, even reckless, personal commitment to discovery." -Richard Holmes in The Age of Wonder