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.
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).