Happy Ada Lovelace Day: Say bonjour to bon vivant and belle esprit Emilie du Chatelet … Woman of Science!

Attention! You have ZERO shopping days left until Ada Lovelace Day. Season’s Greetings!

I’m sure you’ll be celebrating today in the traditional fashion — as is the custom, you will honor the memory of Ada, or another Woman of Science of your choosing.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, because you ALL know about Ada — Daughter of Byron, mathematician, theoretician, programmer of the earliest computer and fighter of crime. (Actually that last one comes from the brilliant re-imaginings of artist Sydney Padua at 2D Goggles, which you will most definitely want to check out if you like science, alternative history, comedy, crimefighting, and images like this:)

OMG, she’s so not boring! Even so, it is not Ada herself that I honor today. It’s another Woman of Science who is possibly the Most Interesting Person in History. You know those Dos Equis commercials about the Most Interesting Man in the World? Well, sit down, chuckles.

I’m talking Emilie du Chatelet, who makes you look pathetic. Don’t worry, she makes me look pathetic and stupid. Say hello to Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet!

Look, whatever you think you’ve accomplished, you can forget it, because YOU DID NOT:

* date Voltaire,

* translate Newton from Latin,

* combine the theories of Gottfried Leibniz and the practical observations of Willem ‘s Gravesande to show that the energy of a moving object is proportional not to its velocity but to the square of its velocity,

* explore the notion of the conservation of energy, or

* influence Einstein to come up with that one crazy formula of his that everybody knows.

She also spoke five languages, gambled like a fiend, and died in childbirth at 42 with a baby fathered neither by her husband or her lover Voltaire, but a dashing captain of the guard.

What have you done? Yeah, I know, me neither. Although I do get to be all braggy that I’m taking this book along for beach reading this Spring Break:

… and you just know everyone’s going to think I’m reading something smutty. But to them I will say, “Do you have anything to say regarding mass-energy equivalence? No? Then the Marquess wants you to step the hell off, shorty!”

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, everyone. Raise a glass of something spicy and fierce to her, to Emilie, or your own favorite Woman of Science.

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