Charles Babbage: And the Engines of Perfection

Hardcover | July 15, 1999

byBruce Collier, James MacLachlan

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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 atCambridge 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 ofhis 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 ingeniousinventions were centuries ahead of the primitive capabilities of Victorian technology.

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From Our Editors

Children always enjoy stories about people whom they can admire and they love learning about how these women and men achieved their success. Unfortunately, Charles Babbage didn’t quite accomplish what he set out to do, but the mathematician certainly set the ball in motion for others who came after him. In Bruce Collier and James MacLl...

From the Publisher

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 atCambridge University, allowing mathematical calcul...

Bruce Collier is formerly of Harvard University. James MacLachlan is a Retired Professor of History, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

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Paperback|Jun 8 2005

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:128 pages, 6.42 × 9.29 × 0.59 inPublished:July 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195089979

ISBN - 13:9780195089974

Appropriate for ages: 12 - 12

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From Our Editors

Children always enjoy stories about people whom they can admire and they love learning about how these women and men achieved their success. Unfortunately, Charles Babbage didn’t quite accomplish what he set out to do, but the mathematician certainly set the ball in motion for others who came after him. In Bruce Collier and James MacLlachlan’s Charles Babbage and the Engines of Perfection, kids will discover the origins of the calculator, the personal computer and the earliest engineer.

Editorial Reviews

"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