The Life of Charles Babbage

Today there are computers everywhere, although many thought Bill Gates was the inventor of the devices, the history of computers dates back to the 1800’s. The original computer was created by Charles Babbage, allowing mathematical equations to be computerized. In the early 1800s, Charles Babbage thought if he could make a machine do the math, it would be faster and have no human errors. Charles spent his life designing the machines. If you have prior knowledge in computer history you may have seen his name. For those who have not, he is the man known as the “father of the computer” Charles Babbage.

Charles Babbage was born in Totnes, Devonshire, on Dec. 26, 1791. Most of his Schooling was conducted by private tutors from home and private schools. Charles’s family was wealthy, and able to provide him with proper schooling. At the age of 19 Charles enrolled into Trinity Collage located in Cambridge, Britain. Charles was repelled by the mathematical instruction that was taught, so in 1812, Babbage, Peacock, and Herschel founded the Analytical Society.

In the year 1814 Charles received his B.A and shortly after graduation married a woman named Georgiana Whitmore. Whitmore was the daughter of a wealthy family. During their marriage they had eight children but only three of the children survived to adulthood. Georgiana died from complications of birth at 31 years of age. The same year Charles lost his wife he also lost his father, and one of his sons. After the passing of his wife Charles stayed unmarried and raised his three sons.

In 1815 Charles became a member of the Royal Society. In 1816, he applied for the position to become a math professor at Hartford, but was not accepted. In 1819, Babbage applied for a professorship, this time at Edinburgh, and also applied for a seat on the Board of Longitude, he was denied for both of these positions. In 1819 Charles traveled to Paris to visit scientists. Spending time with the scientists he stumbled upon his idea of the Difference Engine from the scientist’s use of division of labor.

In 1822 Charles created the first model of the calculating engine. The machine produced mathematical tables; Charles decided to call it a “difference engine.” After coming close to completing the difference engine Charles could not finish the project because he lacked funding. After his attempts to construct the difference engine failed, Charles began to work on his new design, the analytical engine. The difference between the two engines was that the analytical engine could be programmed, while the difference engine could not.

The analytical engine was a progression of designs that Charles worked with throughout his entire life. During Charles Babbage’s lifetime he acquired many accomplishments. In 1824, Babbage won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society “for his invention of the engines.” From 1828 to 1839 Babbage was a Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. Charles founded the Astronomical Society in 1820 and the Statistical Society in 1834. In 1837, he published his Ninth book “On Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God.” Babbage also achieved results in cryptography.

In 1838, Babbage invented the metal frame that attached to the front of trains to move cows and large animals off of the rail tracks. Charles also constructed a dynamometer car, this was used to measure the speed, and other aspects of a trains movement and is still used today. Babbage also invented an ophthalmoscope, but when it was given to a physician for testing it was forgotten, and the device was reinvented by Hermann von Helmholtz.

The life of Charles Babbage was a well lived and high dreamt life, although Charles was not able to put into motion his inventions of the computer engines, scientists found his book of notes and created a replica of the difference engine one and two, and the Analytical engine. These were placed in a computer science Museum. Charles Babbage died at the age of 79 and was known as an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer who created the concept of a programmable computer.

Upon Charles Babbage’s death in 1871, an autopsy was performed by a group of scientists from a University who removed Charles’s brain and preserved half at the Hunterian Museum, and the other half in the Science Museum, both located in London. To this day Charles is known as the grandfather of computing and a well determined, interesting individual.

We here are Hosting Reviews are honored to have written this article for such a great person who dedicated his life to a pasion that he loved.  Without his dedication we would not be as advanced as we are today.