Charles Babbage (1791-1871), often referred to as the "Father of Computing" for his contributions to the development of the computer, seemed to have a rather ordinary childhood. Nevertheless, he grew up to possess a keen intellect, with a mind interested in not only mathematics, but also philosophy, politics, and mechanics. While he is well known for ideas underlying the difference engine and the analytical engine, it is not so well known that he also was an inventor responsible for the cowcatcher, heliograph, standardized postal rates, Greenwich time signals, and the dyanometer.
With respect to the field of philosophy and religion, Babbage found beauty in the orderliness to be found within man, nature, and inventions. He was especially fond of the idea of constructing tables containing standardized measurements for things such as the length a bovine breath, or the time it takes for a pig's heart to beat. Quantification, quantification, quantification. This led to him to investigate biblical miracles. In his book Passages from the Life of a Philospher he wrote that miracles are not "the breach of established laws, but... indicate the existence of far higher laws."
Computers: From the Past to the Present
Charles Babbage: Last modified July 30, 2006
©1994-2006 by Michelle A. Hoyle