Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, was born in 1815, and died aged 36. She was connected with some of the most influential and colourful characters of the age: Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin and Charles Babbage. It was her work with Babbage that led to her being credited with the invention of computer programming and to her name being adopted for the programming language that controls the US military machine. However, what makes her story is not her role as a dispassionate witness or great inventor. It is the way she personified the seismic historical changes taking place. This was the era when fissures began to open up in culture: romance split away from reason, instinct from intellect, art from science. Ada came to embody these new polarities. She struggled to reconcile them and they tore her apart.