Charles Babbage - 1860.jpg
Charles Babbage in 1860
Born 26 December 1791
Died 18 October 1871 (aged 79)
Marylebone, London, England
Fields Mathematics, engineering, political economy, computer science
Institutions Trinity College, Cambridge
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge
Known for Mathematics, computing
Influences Robert Woodhouse, Gaspard Monge, John Herschel
Influenced Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill
Charles Babbage, FRS (/ˈbæbɪdʒ/; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer.
Considered a "father of the computer", Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century.
Parts of Babbage's uncompleted mechanisms are on display in the London Science Museum. In 1991, a perfectly functioning difference engine was constructed from Babbage's original plans. Built to tolerancesachievable in the 19th century, the success of the finished engine indicated that Babbage's machine would have worked.
Babbage's birthplace is disputed, but according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he was most likely born at 44 Crosby Row, Walworth Road, London, England. A blue plaque on the junction of Larcom Street and Walworth Road commemorates the event.
His date of birth was given in his obituary in The Times as 26 December 1792; but then a nephew wrote to say that Babbage was born one year earlier, in 1791. The parish register of St. Mary's Newington, London, shows that Babbage was baptised on 6 January 1792, supporting a birth year of