We live in an era where our morning starts with checking out our smartphones. Everything we do, be it listening to music, watching movies, reading news, alarm, and what-not! Everything comes in a single smartphone. But you know, as the phrase goes by, ” Little drops of water make the mighty ocean”.
The drops for this smart era where we see the advancement of computers through IoT and Artificial Intelligence were formed almost 2 centuries ago by the man who is known as the Father of the Computer – Charles Babbage.
Let’s travel back in time and witness a young polymath creating the future.
Charles Babbage was born on 26th December 1791. His father, Benjamin Babbage was a banking partner. The family was situated in the Walworth Road, London, England. Young Charles was sent to school, but his ill health forced him to switch to private tutors.
After a while, Babbage joined a Holmwood Academy in the Baker Street. The academy had a library which ignited the Mathematician in young Charles. After leaving the academy, Charles was home-tutored till the age of 17. He reached a level in Classics which was enough for Cambridge to accept him.
Charles arrived in the Trinity College, Cambridge, in the Fall of 1810. His love for mathematics had already taught him several advanced topics on the subject. Because of this, he was somewhat disappointed at the level which was taught in there.
“There is, however, another purpose to which academies contribute. When they consist of a limited number of persons, eminent for their knowledge, it becomes an object of ambition to be admitted on their list.”
Charles Babbage, along with his fellow friends established the Analytical Society in 1812. Babbage was also an enthusiast in literature. He was a part of the Ghost Club. They used to investigate supernatural activities.
In 1815, he lectured in the Royal Institution on Astronomy. Post his lecture, he was elected a fellow in the Royal Society. From 1816 to 1820, he unsuccesfully applied in various universities for the post of professor. Until 1824, when his works finally started getting published.
Babbage became independently rich after inheriting his father’s property. The fortune allowed him to do proper research and pursue his interests.
“That the state of knowledge in any country will exert a directive influence on the general system of instruction adopted in it, is a principle too obvious to require investigation.”
Charles Babbage is considered as the key figure who helped founding the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1924, he won a gold medal “for his invention of an engine for calculating mathematical and astronomical tables”.
In the late 1930s, Charles collaborated with other Mathematicians and engineers. The studies and researches allowed him to create machines. These machines are said to be the first computers and hence making Charles Babbage as the “Father of the Computer”.
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