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Great Scientists and their Inventions

Charles Babbage( 1791-1871)

charles babbage

image source: wikimedia commons

Do you ever wonder who you have to thank for the powerful desktop or laptop you are now using for practically everything you do? You might say all thanks should be given to the computer companies of today but in fact, you have Charles Babbage to thank. The name might not be familiar to you just yet but read on because pretty soon, “Charles Babbage” will be on your mind every time you use your computer.

Babbage and his machines

His machines were considered as one of the very first mechanical computers ever to be invented. The fact that they were not actually used for computing was not due to a design flaw. Rather, it was to be blamed on lack of funding and some personality problems.

Babbage was the director in charge of building steam-powered machines and they did achieve some success; they also suggested that calculations could be done mechanically. For ten years after that, the government funded his projects which amounted to about £ 17,000 but it happened that the treasury lost faith in him and the funding stopped.



While the machines he came up with were mechanical and bulky they had a basic design that is similar to the modern computer. It is for this reason why he is often looked at as one of the pioneers of computers.

Death

Charles Babbage died on Oct. 18, 1871. He is buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery in London. Cause of death was “renal inadequacy”. One half of his brain is preserved in Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons while the other half can be viewed in the London Science Museum.


Quotes:

At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every new tool, human labour becomes abridged.

Another mode of accumulating power arises from lifting a weight and then allowing it to fall.