Babbage (bàb´îj), Charles
British mathematician and inventor of an analytical machine based on principles similar to those used in modern digital computers.
Babbage, Charles (1792-1871), British mathematician and inventor, born in Teignmouth. He designed and built mechanical computing machines on principles that anticipated the modern electronic computer. In the 1820s Babbage began developing his Difference Engine, a mechanical device to perform simple mathematical calculations. In the 1830s Babbage began developing his Analytical Engine, which was designed to carry out more complicated calculations. Babbage’s book Economy of Machines and Manufactures (1832) initiated the field of study known today as operational research.
invented the analytical engine
mentor to Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace
invented the cowcatcher – the metal device in front of steam locomotives
devised a method of analyzing complex systems which became the foundation of the field of operational research proved that the cost of analyzing and assigning a value for delivering mail according to distance was much more expensive than assigning a flat rate fee (should phone companies be listening? -aj)
invented the first speedometer for railroads
helped create the insurance industry by publishing the first treatise on actuarial theory
invented and solved ciphers and made skeleton keys for unpickable locks (similar to the origins of modern “hacking“)
He was a founder of the Royal Astronomical Society. He wrote _Tables of Logarithms_ (1827) and an autobiography (1864).