A 19th-Century Mathematician Finally Proves Himself

by Laura Sydell

Charles Babbage, the man whom many consider to be the father of modern computing, never got to complete any of his life's work. The Victorian gentleman was a brilliant mathematician, but he wasn't very good at politics and fundraising, so he never got the financial backing to finish any of his elaborate machine designs. For decades, even his fans weren't certain whether his computing machines would have worked.

But Doron Swade, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, has proven that Babbage wasn't just an eccentric dreamer. Using nothing but materials that would have been available to Babbage in the 1840s, Swade and a group of engineers successfully built Babbage's Difference Engine — and a version is now on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

Story continues:

I have seen it in person and it is amazing to see it work and it work very well and the results are accurate

Interesting fact:
It weights 5 tons (cast iron, steel and bronze) woven together from 8,000 distinct parts

If you get a chances to visit the Computer History Museum be sure to visit the Difference Engine

3 Replies to “A 19th-Century Mathematician Finally Proves Himself”

  1. Fully completed in 2000, ‘Difference Engine No.2’ is currently on display where it was built, at the London Science Museum, in the computing section. We went to see it in 2003/04.

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