Letters to Lovelace Competition

Ada Lovelace

The year 2015 is the 200th anniversary of Ada Lovelace’s birth and the Computer History Museum is celebrating with a special contest!

In honor of Ada's achievements and those of all women in Science, Engineering, Math and Technology. In October we asked girls to share their creative answers to the question "What do you think would interest Ada Lovelace about 21st century technology?" Winners were selected in December of 2015.

See Here for List of Winners

Show or tell us your answers in almost any medium—just be sure to communicate to Ada in ways that she would understand. Remember that she did not have electricity, telephones, or – of course – computers.

What do you want Ada to know about technology today? What would she find fascinating, exciting, or surprising? Is there anything she might not understand or like about contemporary technology?

About the Competition

  • All girls up to the age of 18 are eligible to enter.
  • Submissions will be accepted until October 31, 2015 (International Ada Lovelace Day).
  • Winners will receive a Galaxy Tablet, generously provided by Samsung, and more! Prizes will be awarded as part of a daylong celebration at the Computer History Museum on December 13, 2015
  • All entries must be emailed to ada.lovelace@computerhistory.org. Full contest details are available in How to Enter, below.

The Computer History Museum is proud to present the competition in partnership with The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley, UK, the University of Oxford, Queen Mary University of London, and the Heinz Nixdorf Forum in Germany.

Who was Ada Lovelace?

Ada Lovelace
Courtesy of Sydney Padua

Born December 10, 1815, Ada was educated in science, math, and music, which was highly unusual for girls of her time. She was fascinated by machines and logic; as an adult, she worked closely with Charles Babbage, who designed the world's first automatic calculating machines - including the Difference Engine #2, which is on exhibit at the Computer History Museum.

Ada was a remarkable thinker. Unlike most people of her era, she understood that computers could do much more than calculate numbers, and she predicted many of the ways in which we use technology today.

How to Enter

Ada Lovelace
Courtesy of Sydney Padua

What do you think would interest Ada Lovelace about 21st century technology?

Be creative! Entries will be accepted in any of the formats below; just remember to focus on communicating with Ada about 21st century technology.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners in each age category and to all members of the winning group.

  • All entries must be emailed to ada.lovelace@computerhistory.org, with "Ada Lovelace Competition Entry" as the subject. Closing date: October 31, 2015
  • Entries will be accepted in the following formats:
    • Letter (500 words maximum; if handwritten, must be scanned and emailed to the address above)
    • Email (500 words maximum)
    • Blog post (500 words maximum)
    • Social media text (500 words maximum; accepted only from girls 13 and older)
    • Video (3 minutes maximum)
    • Visual art (11” x 17” maximum; 2-dimensional work must be scanned and emailed to the address above; photos or videos of 3-dimensional work must also be submitted by email)
    • Photos or images on any software platform (25 images maximum)
  • Girls may enter as individuals in one of three age categories:
    • Under 13 (no social media text accepted)
    • 13 - 15
    • 16 - 18
  • Individual entries must include the following information*:
    1. Full name
    2. Age and birthdate
    3. Address
    4. Name, address, email, and phone number of a sponsoring parent or guardian over age 18
  • Group entries will also be accepted and will be judged in a separate category. Group entries must include the following information*:
    1. Full names of all group members
    2. Ages of all group members
    3. School or organization name, if applicable
    4. School or organization address, if applicable
    5. Name, address, email, and phone number of a sponsoring parent, teacher, or other group leader over age 18

* Incomplete entries will be disqualified.

Terms & Conditions

  1. The competition is organized by the Computer History Museum in partnership with The National Museum of Computing, the University of Oxford, Queen Mary University, and the Heinz Nixdorf Forum.
  2. Entry to the competition is open to girls who will be younger than 19 as of October 13, 2015, and who are full-time residents of the United States.
  3. By entering the competition, entrants certify that they have received permission from a sponsoring adult over age 18, and that the adult agrees to these Terms and Conditions on the entrant's behalf. Sponsoring adults may be parents, guardians, teachers or other group leaders. Entries must include full contact information for sponsoring adults; entries received without this information will be disqualified.
  4. Entry to the competition closes on Tuesday, October 13 at midnight in the entrant’s local time zone. Submissions received after this time will not be considered.
  5. Entrants can enter the competition as individuals or in groups. Only one entry per person and per group is permitted. If more than one entry is submitted, only the entrant's first submission will be considered.
  6. All entries must be the entrant’s own work. Help putting together the entry is acceptable, and must be acknowledged in the entry.
  7. Submissions will be judged for quality of research, communication to Ada, and creativity.
  8. The Computer History Museum will not provide funding for travel or research.
  9. It is the responsibility of entrants and their sponsoring adults to ensure that entries do not infringe on copyrights of any third party or otherwise violate any other laws.
  10. Entries may be reproduced and used for publicity and other purposes as deemed appropriate by The Computer History Museum and its partner organizations.
  11. The Computer History Museum and its partner organizations do not accept responsibility for lost entries. Proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Entries will not be returned.

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For More Information

650-810-1889 Megan Merritt