Inventors are inspirational. Charles Babbage was an inventor, mathematician, philosopher, teacher, writer, and mechanical engineer. He is remembered for mathematics and computing. He originated the concept of a programmable computer. He invented the first mechanical computer. He was a polymath.
Charles Babbage was born on December 26, 1791 in London, England. There has been disputes as to the year and exact place of his birth, however the previous statement is now accepted as fact. He had three siblings and his father was a banking partner. In 1810, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge. While there he was in the Analytical Society, the Ghost Club, the Extractors Club, and other societies or clubs. In 1812, he transferred to Peterhouse, Cambridge. In 1815, he lectured to the Royal Institution. In 1816, he was elected to Fellow of the Royal Society. John Herschel and Babbage worked on the electrodynamics of Arago’s rotations and published their explanations in 1825. He continued to work and publish. He was a founder of the Astronomical Society in 1820. In 1824, he won its Gold Medal for his invention that calculated mathematical and astronomical tables.
Babbage was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge from 1828 until 1839. He wrote three books during this time. In 1832, he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order. He tried to enter politics and was unsuccessful. He wrote about his operational research and industrial production. He championed division of labor and profit sharing in factories. In 1837, he published his writing on natural theology. In 1838, his work as an engineer and inventor continued with his invention of the pilot, or cow-catcher, which clears tracks for locomotives. He invented an opthalmoscope, although it was not developed. He made gains in cryptography as well.
Personally, he married Georgina Whitmore in 1814. They had eight children, although only four survived into adulthood. His wife died in 1827. Charles Babbage died October 18, 1871. There are several memorials of his life and work. Babbage is remembered in popular culture as well. His character appears in fiction and on film. Publications of his exist. Be inspired! Have a bright day!