Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 6/15/2008 Next >>

Though my birthdate and place are disputed, it is true that I was born to very wealthy parents who provided everything for me.

While I studied at Exeter, my mother issued a directive to my teachers that my "brain was not to be taxed too much."

Though I studied mathematics at Cambridge and Peterhouse, I was unhappy with their approach to mathematics...and they were unhappy with my approach to learning to the extent that I never earned a degree.

With the need to calculate mathematical tables mechanically and without a high rate of human error, I created the Difference Engine and the Analytic Engine, the world's first mechanical computers.

I also dabbled in the areas of religion, cryptography, politics, postal regulations, lighthouses...and even invented the cowcatcher on locamotives.

I hated commoners, especially street musicians and organ grinders...and got in trouble with the law for my actions against them.

Ada Lovelace worked with me, and was perhaps the only person who understood the value of my work...which she interpreted and documented in written form.

Answer: Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)