Charles Babbage (1791~1871)

The first device that might be considered to be a computer in the modern sense of the word was conceived in 1822 by the eccentric British mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage.

Babbage produced a prototype of the original Difference Engine as early as 1822, then kept adding refinements without ever quite finishing it.

Charles Babbage was born in 1791 to a Devonshire family of wealth and leisure. He went to a good school, then set out for Cambridge with little inkling of what to expect there except for a warning that it was a bad place to buy wine. Naturally brilliant at math, he found that his mathematics professors actually knew less than he did.

Clearly a genius, Charles appears also to have been a charming young man, filled with a youthful determination to improve math teaching at Cambridge. With his close friend John Herschel, son of the famed astronomer William Herschel, Babbage helped found the Analytical Society.