Considered a "father of the computer", Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century.
Babbage, Charles (b. 1791, Teignmouth, Devonshire UK, d. 1871, London, UK). Elected to the Royal Society at age 24, Babbage became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1827. He is often referred as the father of computing in recognition of his design of two machines, the difference engine for calculating tables of logarithms by repeated additions performed by trains of gear wheels, and the analytical engine designed to perform a variety of computations using punch cards. Babbage spent much of his life trying to build the difference engine, a prototype of which was not completed until long after his death. His inventions went beyond computing and included the speedometer and the train cowcatcher. Among his best known writings are Reflections on the Decline of Science in England (1831) and On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1833), the latter of which proposed an early form of operations research.