Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1791-12-26
Death 1871-10-18
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Mathematician. Trinity College, Cambridge (England), from 1811; graduated Peterhouse, 1914; M.A. 1817. Lucasian professor of mathematics, Cambridge University, 1828-1839. Fellow Royal Society, 1816. Worked with and tried to perfect calculating machines; devised basic principles of modern computers.

From the description of Correspondence, 1830-1849. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155005505

Mathematician. Trinity College, Cambridge (England), from 1811; graduated Peterhouse, 1814; M.A. 1817. Lucasian professor of mathematics, Cambridge University, 1828-1839. Fellow Royal Society, 1816. Worked with and tried to perfect calculating machines; devised basic principles of modern computers.

From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79909459

Charles Babbage, mathematician and computer pioneer. He ignited a love for mathematics in a young Ada Byron in 1833 with a presentation to her of his first analytical engine, and her Sketch of the analytical engine invented by Charles Babbage was published in Taylor's Scientific Memoirs in 1843. According to Lady Byron's diaries, Ada was touched by the "universality of his ideas."

From the description of Charles Babbage manuscript material : 1 item, 1840 (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 76699325

Ada King, countess of Lovelace, née Augusta Ada Byron, English mathematician and computer pioneer. She was the only legitimate child of George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron, the poet.

From the guide to the Ada King, Countess of Lovelace manuscript material : 16 items, 1840-1851, (The New York Public Library. Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle.)

Charles Babbage, mathematician and computer pioneer. He ignited a love for mathematics in a young Ada Byron in 1833 with a presentation to her of his first analytical engine, and her Sketch of the analytical engine invented by Charles Babbage was published in Taylor's Scientific Memoirs in 1843. According to Lady Byron's diaries, Ada was touched by the "universality of his ideas.".

From the guide to the Charles Babbage manuscript material : 1 item, 1840, (The New York Public Library. Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle.)

English mathematician and inventor.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [London], to Mrs. Crosse, 1864 May 12. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270133426

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [London], to an unidentified recipient, 1849 Mar. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270133427

Mathematician and philosopher; Fellow of the Royal Society. Babbage pioneered the idea of mechanizing numerical calculations on a large scale, and designed calculating 'engines' which were the forerunners of the computer.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1820-1864. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81949125

Charles Babbage was a British mathematician and inventor. He helped found the Analytical Society, The Royal Astronomical Society, and the Statistical Society, and was a member of the Royal Academy. He invented several mechanical calculating machines, and designed an analytical engine that anticipated the digital computer. He also helped establish the modern English postal system, compiled the first reliable actuarial tables, and invented the locomotive cowcatcher.

From the description of Charles Babbage letter to Mary Shepherd, 1826 July 14. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 58726274

Charles Babbage was a mathematician and inventor.

From the description of Selected correspondence, 1827-1871. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 17270536

From the guide to the Charles Babbage selected correspondence, 1827-1871, 1827-1871, (American Philosophical Society)

Charles Babbage (1792-1871), mathematician and scientist, studied at Trinity College and Peterhouse, Cambridge 1811-1814, and was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, 1828-1839. He was the inventor of a mechanical computer.

From the guide to the Charles Babbage: Mathematical and Scientific Notebooks and Papers, 1806-1878, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)

Mathematician. Trinity College, Cambridge (England), from 1811; graduated Peterhouse, 1914; M. A. 1817. Lucasian professor of mathematics, Cambridge University, 1828-1839. Fellow Royal Society, 1816. Worked with and tried to perfect calculating machines; devised basic principles of modern computers.

From the description of Papers, 1808-ca. 1866. (American Institute of Physics). WorldCat record id: 78080354

Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) was an important scientific reformer during the early nineteenth century. From his position as superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, and through leadership roles in the scientific institutions of the time, Bache helped bring American science into alignment with the professional nature of its European counterpart. In addition, Bache fostered the reform of public education in America.

On July 19, 1806 Alexander Dallas Bache was born into one of Philadelphia's elite families. The son of Richard Bache and Sophia Dallas, he was Benjamin Franklin's great-grandson, nephew to George Dallas (vice president under James K. Polk), and grandson to Alexander James Dallas (secretary of the treasury under James Madison). In 1821, Bache was admitted to the United States Military Academy at the age of 15, graduating first in his class four years later. He remained at the Academy for an additional two years to teach mathematics and natural history. While serving as a lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, working on the construction of Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., he met Nancy Clarke Fowler whom he would later marry.

Bache left the Army in 1828 to begin an academic career, accepting an appointment as professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Although his scientific interests were broad, he had a particular interest in geophyscial research. While in Philadelphia, he constructed a magnetic observatory, and made extensive research into terrestrial magnetism, and during the 1830s he began to be recognized as a leading figure in the city's scientific community. Bache was an active member of the American Philosphical Society and the Franklin Institute, seeking to raise the professional standards of both institutions and urging them to place a stronger emphasis on original research. While at the Franklin Institute from 1830-1835, Bache led a Federally-funded investigation into steam-boiler explosions, the government's first use of technical experts to examine a matter involving public policy.

In 1836 Bache became interested in educational reform when he was asked to help organize the curriculum at Girard College, of which he later served as president. Bache spent two years in Europe visiting over 250 educational institutions. The result of his visit was a 600 page study, Report on Education in Europe, to the Trustees of the Girard College for Orphans published in 1839. Although Bache was unable to apply the report at Girard College because of its delayed opening, it proved useful in overhauling the curriculum of Philadelphia's Central High School, where he was superintendent from 1839-1842, and was widely influential among American educational reformers, helping to introduce the Prussian educational model to the United States.

After meeting many of the leading savants during a European tour, including Alexander von Humboldt, Francois Arago, and Karl Friedrich Gauss, Bache became convinced of the need to professionalize American science. His opportunity to make an impact came in 1843 with the death of Ferdinand Hassler, superindendent of the U.S. Coast Survey. In the years before the Civil War, the Coast Survey supported more scientists then any other institution in the country, and Bache and his colleagues saw the Survey as a means of gaining federal patronage for science. After a campaign by his friends and colleagues, Bache was named as Hassler's replacement. Over the next two decades Bache transformed the Coast Survey into one of the nation's leading scientific institutions, becoming an important patron of science himself in the process . Bache was not just an administrator, but remained personally involved in field work.

Bache also led the reform of American science through his leadership of an elite group known as the "Lazzaroni" or scientific beggars. The goal of the Lazzaroni was to ensure that the nation's leading scientists kept control of the nation's scientific institutions, and they were instrumental in reforming the American Association for the Advancement of Science (of which Bache was president of in 1850). In his remarkably busy schedule, Bache was a member of the Lighthouse Board (1844-1845), superintendent of the Office of Weights and Measures (1844), and a prominent regent for the Smithsonian Institution, where he convinced fellow Lazzaroni Joseph Henry to become its first secretary. Bache also played a leading role in the creation of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as its first president. When the Americn Civil War broke out, Bache focused the Coast Survey to support the war effort, was vice president of the Sanitary Commision, a consultant to the army and navy on battle plans, a superintended for Philadelphia's defence plans, and a member of the Permanent Commission of the navy in charge of evaluating new weapons. Bache died in Newport, R.I. on February 17, 1867.

From the guide to the A. D. Bache Collection, 1833-1873, (American Philosophical Society)

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Subjects:

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Occupations:

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  • Mathematicians--Biograpy--England
  • Mathematicians--19th century--England
  • Scientists--Great Britain

Places:

  • England (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)