IT began with Ada. Women in computer history

2 September 2015 to 10 July 2016

Ada Lovelace has gone down in IT history as the first ever female computer programmer. 10 December 2015 marks her 200th anniversary. The Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum is commemorating the occasion with a big special exhibition acknowledging the importance of Ada Lovelace and celebrating the role of women in computer history from 2 September 2015 to 10 July 2016.

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the renowned romantic poet Lord Byron and the British aristocrat his wife Annabella Anne Isabella Milbanke. Ada showed an aptitude for mathematics and natural sciences at an early age, going on to associate with leading academics and scientists in London society. One of these was Charles Babbage, who had designed a new type of calculating machine. Babbage’s machine – which was never built – boasted all the major functional elements of today’s computers. It was in an article about this “Analytical Engine” that Lovelace outlined significant elements of modern-day programming languages: variables, program loops and conditional branches. This is especially remarkable, because Ada Lovelace accomplished her scientific achievements in an age when all educational opportunities were denied to women and social barriers determined what they could and could not do.

Thus another section of the exhibition is set to present portraits of women who have made important contributions to the development of information technology. These include female staff who worked on the project to develop the ENIAC, the world’s first electronic computer. Also Grace Hopper, who developed basic principles for advanced computer languages in the 1950s. And Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, who has been conducting research in the field of “virtual humans” for over 30 years.

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Admission charges

Adults 3 euros
Reduced price 1.50 euros
Family ticket 7 euros
Groups of 10 or more 2.50 euros

Combined ticket with entrance to permanent exhibition: Adults 8.50 euros
Reduced price 5 euros
Family ticket 15 euros
Groups of 10 or more 7 euros
Groups of 10 or more, reduced price 4 euros

Entrance is free for general and vocational schools, colleges and universities, and for groups of young people on national service, both military and civilian, providing the visit has been notified in advance (service(at)

More information:

Venue: 3rd floor of the HNF Floorspace: approx. 700 square metres All texts, videos and multimedia-applications on German and English. Supporting programme: Guided tours, educational museum events, series of lectures

Brochure for download

Project management

Doreen Hartmann
Telephone +49-5251-306-985

Press office

Andreas Stolte

Presse release