Re: [asa] Charles Babbage

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 10:57:54 EST

Good suggestions, Jon. We'll certainly give it consideration.

Early this year, I had a chance to see the Babbage Difference Engine that you mentioned at the Computer History Museum. My brother-in-law's picture is in one of the museum exhibits so I had to check it out. The machine is quite impressive. It really works. In building the machine, they went back to machining tolerances of the level possible back in Babbage's day, rather than modern capabilities. (My wife was impressed too but couldn't understand why it always seems to be the man who explains how it works and it's the woman who turns the crank at his command.......)


From: Jon Tandy
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 11:43 PM
Subject: [asa] Charles Babbage

I suggested to Randy and Ted that the PSCF consider including a "student's corner", directed at a student and/or less mature readership. I suggested the use of introductory articles on the scientific process, scientific and theological issues, review of homeschool curricula, and articles of interest to students.


One idea for an interesting article for such an endeavor, which may be of interest to others here, is linked below.

and video,


"Charles Babbage, the man whom many consider to be the father of modern computing, never got to complete any of his life's work. The Victorian gentleman was a brilliant mathematician, but he wasn't very good at politics and fundraising, so he never got the financial backing to finish any of his elaborate machine designs. For decades, even his fans weren't certain whether his computing machines would have worked.


But Doron Swade, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, has proven that Babbage wasn't just an eccentric dreamer. Using nothing but materials that would have been available to Babbage in the 1840s, Swade and a group of engineers successfully built Babbage's Difference Engine - and a version is now on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif."




Jon Tandy


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Received on Tue Dec 15 10:58:50 2009

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