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Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage

Early Life

Charles Babbage was a Mathematician, inventor, philosopher and mechanical engineer. His place of birth is not confirmed but according to some historians he was born in London, England on 26th December 1791. His early education was from a country school in Alphington, Exeter after he was down from a dangerous fever. Due to a request from his parents he was not pushed too much in studies by his teachers. Babbage later claimed that some of his rather ingenuous reasoning was a result of this relaxation. He also attended the King Edward VI Grammar School in South Devon but due to his weak health he had to return to private tutoring.

Charles and Mathematics

Babbage’s aptitude for mathematics was polished in the ‘Holmwood Academy’. The academy was stocked with mathematical books which captured his attention and interest. He started his studies in the Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1810. Here he was involved in many activities and clubs such as the Ghost Club, Analytical Society and the Extractors Club. Babbage was not satisfied with the level of mathematics that was taught here at the Trinity College. Studying Leibniz, Thomas Simpson, Joseph Louis Lagrange he found a lot of disappointment in the lack of conceptual understanding and theory that they offered. He wanted more out of this subject. Hence it was not a surprise that after transferring to Peterhouse, Cambridge, he became the highest ranked mathematician there but unfortunately he could not graduate with honors. Babbage accomplished an honorary degree without going through an exam in 1814.

Inventions and Accomplishments


Charles Babbage died on 18th October 1871 and was buried in London in the Kensal Green cemetery. His brain is displayed in halves in two museums; the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons in London and in the Science Museum, London.

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