Conceiving Ada (1997).

Tilda Swinton (well known for e.g. Orlando, 1992) plays Lady Ada King Countess of Lovelace who was a gifted 19th-century mathematician, the daughter of poet Lord Byron, and who documented aspects of Charles Babbage's mechanical computing engines. This has led to the suggestion that Ada was in effect the world's first computer programmer - not the typical role "expected" of 19th-century women. She is also said to have been an avid gambler. She died young and painfully of uterine cancer.

Emmy Coer, played by Karen Black, a modern-day scientist, establishes contact with Ada by unlikely means (dream or cyber chat/email through time?) and attempts to influence her restricted life and sad end.

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Copyright © L. Allison / 1999