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Passages from the Life of a Philosopher

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Charles Babbage is most often described as the father of the computer, inventing machines for calculating complex formulae which remain masterpieces of invention and technological genius. This autobiography presents a picture of Victorian England from one of her more brilliant sons.
Paperback, 375 pages
Published April 6th 1994 by Routledge (first published March 1st 1994)
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Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The rambling autobiography of a fascinating man. Three parts hilarious anecdotes, two parts ranting, one part science, one part crusade against street music, and one bizarre chapter in which Babbage communes with a piece of cheese. Gloucester cheese, to be exact.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Charles Babbage seems like a pretty exciting guy. 19th century scientist, mathematician, inventor, and bitter enemy of street musicians.
I was drawn to this autobiography after reading the "comic book" (it's so much more than a comic book) "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage." It's very satisfying to make the connections between Babbage's own account of himself and the beautifully imagined drawings of Sydney Padua, the comic illustrator.

Charles Babbage (and his friend Ada Lovelace)
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I first heard his name in elementary school computer class.

What wasn't taught was that Charles Babbage was an eccentric character and an accomplished polymath with an insatiable curiosity; and the nature and journey of the mechanical achievements that earned him the name "father of computing", the Difference and Analytical Engines.

Passages in the Life of a Philosopher was written in a time when the lines between philosophy and science - wisdom and knowledge - were not as clearly defined. Babbag
Sarah Pitman
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an absolutely INSANE ride. Went into this hoping for some personal recollections of friends and family, tender insights into the mind of a genius. Instead rewarded with a hodgepodge of random facts, opinions, ramblings, always turning back to the utter OUTRAGE at having been denied due recognition for his magnum opus The Analytical Engine. Tempting to peg Babbage as a delusional narcissist, except that he's genuinely good humored and might almost be as smart as he thinks he is. Parts of thi ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic, non-fiction
This is an autobiography of Charles Babbage, who invented the mechanical computer in the early 1800s. He writes amusing anecdotes from his life, He shared a lot of fascinations with modern geeks, like cryptography, lockpicking, railroads, long distance communication, mechanical toys, and so forth. He held the Lucasian chair and was acquainted with Lord Wellington. He found street musicians terribly annoying.
Jan 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Why.. this should be called “Passages from My opinions on anything and everything”. The writing gets a bit draggy in the middle because of the old language and because I don’t care about political structure of European nobility. I liked the entire discourse on the Analytical engine and Babbage’s bureaucratic struggle in getting one built. I wonder: if Babbage was to build one now.. probably a kickstarter fundraising would be very helpful. What was about that weird cheese story? It’s also interes ...more
George Pollard
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Delightful chapters interspersed with some gnatterings about local body politics.
Richard Lin
Jul 10, 2008 is currently reading it
currently reading....on the 1st page :(
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Charles Babbage KH FRS (/ˈbæbɪdʒ/; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.
Considered by some to be a "father of the computer", Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex electronic designs,

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