Friday, 25 December 2015

A Very Mary Christmas

Bioraphy and Education

Charles Babbage was born in London Dec. 26, 1791, St. Stephan day, in London. He was son of Benjamin Babbage, a banking partner of the Praeds who owned the Bitton Estate in Teignmouth and Betsy Plumleigh Babbage. It was about 1808 when the Babbage family decided to move into the old Rowdens house, located in East Teignmouth, and Benjamin Babbage became a warden of the nearby church of St. Michael. 

The father of Charles was a rich man, so it was possible for Charles to receive instruction from several elite schools and teachers during the course of his elementary education. He was about eight when he had to move to a country school to recover from a dangerous fever. His parents sentenced that his "brain was not to be taxed too much"; Babbage wrote: "this great idleness may have led to some of my childish reasonings." 
Then, he joined King Edward VI Grammar School in Totnes, South Devon, a thriving comprehensive school that's still operative today, but his fragile health status forced him back to private teaching for a period. Then, he finally joined a 30-student closed number academy managed by Reverend Stephen Freeman. The academy had a big library, where Babbage used to study mathematics by himself, and learned to love it. He had two more personal tutors after leaving the academy. One was a clergyman of Cambridge, and about him Babbage said: "I fear I did not derive from it all the advantages that I might have done.". The other one was an Oxford tutor who teached Babbage the Classics, so that he could be accepted to Cambridge. 

Babbage arrived at Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1810. He had a big culture - he knew Lagrange, Leibniz, Lacroix, Simpson... and he was seriously disappointed about the math programs available at Cambridge. So he, with J.Herschel, G.Peacock, and other friends, decided to form the Analytical Society. 

When, in 1812, Babbage transferred to Peterhouse, Cambridge, he was the best mathematician; but he failed to graduate with honours. 
He received an honorary degree later, without even being examinated, in 1814. 

In 1814, Charles Babbage married Georgiana Whitmore at St. Michael's Church in Teignmouth, Devon. His father, for some reason, never gave his approvation. They lived in tranquility at 5 Devonshire Street, Portland Place, London. 
Only Three of their 8 children became adult.
Tragically, Charles' father, his wife and one of his sons all died in 1827.

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