5 Fascinating Facts about Charles Babbage

5 Fascinating Facts about Charles Babbage

As tough to believe as it may be, once upon a time we lived in a world without computers.

Computers and modern technology in general pretty much rule the world now. Without them, modern civilization as we know it today would crumble. As is the case with all great creations however, they first needed to be invented, so who do we have to thank for computers?

Well, most historians agree that the foundations for computers as we know them today were laid way back in Victorian times, by a legendary scientist and inventing pioneer by the name of Charles Babbage.

Charles Babbage is referred to as the ‘Father of Computing’, as he is credited with the creation of the forerunner of programmable computers in the 19th Century.

As well as inventing the precursor for the computers we use to this day, Babbage also invented many other amazing contraptions, and lead an exceptional life. To help you better know the Father of Computing, here are some interesting facts about Charles Babbage.

He was a sickly child

Born in London, 1791, Charles Babbage was a very sickly child growing up.

He would often find himself ill, but aged 8 a particularly nasty fever struck him, which almost killed him.

He studied at King Edward VI Grammar school, but was forced to drop out, again due to poor health. Luckily for him, his family was wealthy so he received private tuition.

He was interested in the paranormal

As he was growing up, Babbage was fascinated in the supernatural and was obsessed with trying to prove the existence or supernatural beings. He even went so far as to perform a Satanic ritual to try to summon the devil.

At university, he and some of his fellow students formed the Ghost Club, which was basically one of the earliest paranormal investigation organizations.

He was a very talented mathematician

Babbage was interested in mathematics as a child and taught himself a great deal of mathematics before attending Cambridge University.

In 1816, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Initially he wanted to become a teacher, and specialize in math. Unfortunately for him, that career didn’t work out so well.

When his father died in 1827, he inherited an estate worth $100,000 which today, would be worth close to $20 Million. With his new fortune, he turned to inventing.

He created the ‘Difference Engine’ and ‘Analytical Machine’

The main reason why Babbage is known as the Father of Computing is due to the fact that two of his inventions are now considered precursors for modern computers.

His Difference Engine was a calculating machine he completed in 1822. It was designed to utilize the differences between terms within a mathematical series so as to produce the contents of a navigational table.

Shortly afterwards he created the Analytical Machine that was more complex and advanced than the Difference Engine. It featured a memory unit which held 1,000 different 50-digit numbers. This was basically the earliest form of backing up your work, as the user could store data for use at a later date.

He never actually completed the machine, but even so, it inspired computers and programming methods we know and love to this very day.

His brain is on display in London

Charles Babbage died in 1871.

Because his brain was so remarkable, one half of it has been preserved and is on display at the Hunterian Museum, located at the Royal College of Surgeons.

The other half can be viewed at the Science Museum, in London, England.

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