Charles Babbage was an English engineer, inventor and mathematician who invented the first automatic digital computer. Scholars consider Babbage to be one of the "fathers of the computer." He is most famous for his series of machines known as analytical engines, complex apparatuses designed to perform general computation.
Despite the fact that many of his inventions went unfinished (usually due to lack of funding or personality issues), Babbage's concepts and creations laid the foundation for the invention of the modern computer.
The most pioneering of Babbage's machines was the Analytical Engine. The purpose of this device was to perform any arithmetical operation. It utilized instructions from punch cards, branching and looping, sequential control and a memory unit in which it stored numbers. Babbage built many models of the Analytical Engine, but unfortunately he never completed the machine to his specifications.
The precursor to the Analytical Engine, the Difference Engine, was also a highly influential invention. The Difference Engine was meant to compute the values of polynomial functions by using the method of finite differences. Babbage envisioned his machine as a solution to the fallibility of nautical calculation and transcription. The Difference Engine also remained unfinished until British scientists completed the machine to Babbage's specifications in 1991.
Learn MoreCharles Babbage invented the first general-purpose computer in an effort to prevent the mathematical errors that were prevalent in the human-calculated mathematics of his time. Babbage had an obsession with mathematical precision, explains the Charles Babbage website.
Full Answer >During the 1820s, Charles Babbage invented the difference engine, a machine that was capable of making mathematical calculations. Babbage also invented the analytical engine, which was a machine that could read punch cards to perform arithmetical calculations and had a built-in memory unit for storing numbers.
Full Answer >Isaac Newton's greatest contribution to science was his universal law of gravitation, in which he described the laws of gravity after seeing an apple from a tree. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, Newton's law of gravitation suggests that bigger masses attract more strongly and that the distance between masses affects the amount of gravity experienced by each mass, reducing by the square of the distance.
Full Answer >The greatest achievement of Nicolas Copernicus was the publication of his book, "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before he died in 1543. This major event in the history of science began the Copernican Revolution and fueled the scientific revolution, according to About.com.
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