Charles Babbage: And the Engines of Perfection (Oxford Portraits in Science)

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9780195142877: Charles Babbage: And the Engines of Perfection (Oxford Portraits in Science)
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Charles Babbage, "the grandfather of the modern computer," did not live to see even one of his calculating machines at work. A dazzling genius with vision extending far beyond the limitations of the Victorian age, Babbage successfully calculated a table of logarithms during his years at Cambridge University, allowing mathematical calculations to be executed with extreme precision. Only the possibility of human error prevented complete accuracy, and Babbage understood that the only way to attain perfection is to leave the human mind entirely out of the equation. He devoted most of his life and spent most of his private fortune and government stipend trying to improve his difference engines and analytical engines.
Bruce Collier and James MacLachlan chronicle Babbage's education and scientific career, his remarkably active social life and long string of personal tragedies, his forays into philosophy and economics, his successes and failures, and the biggest disappointment of his life-- his ingenious inventions were centuries ahead of the primitive capabilities of Victorian technology.

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About the Author:

Bruce Collier, formerly of Harvard University. James MacLachlan, Professor Emeritus of History, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

Review:


"A fascinating portrait of Charles Babbage... Generous black and white illustrations enliven the work... Recommended."--Book Report


"One contemporary of Babbage added that 'he more, perhaps, than any other man who ever lived, narrowed the chasm [between] science and practical mechanics'.... A fascinating biography that students are sure to enjoy."--Sarah S. Fox, Books.com


"Intertwining Babbage's personal life with his work as an inventor, this book tells the story of the mathematician's conception of and work on the first computers.... Informative photos and diagrams illustrate the principles of Babbage's designs. Libraries...will find this book nearly essential."--School Library Journal


"The book reads easily and drives home Babbage's contribution to the development of the modern computer... As with so many other well-done young adult science books, [this book's] audience could extend to any reader with matching abilities and interests."--Children's Literature a


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Bruce Collier, James MacLachlan
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