Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Let Us Crunch Some Numbers!

Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry aren't the only unlikely pairing in the history of computing - in fact I wonder if Stonehenge wasn't designed and built by two druids with opposing personalities who inspired each other to great things despite being constantly at each other's throats.

The Victorian equivalent of Sinclair and Curry were mathematicians Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, an unlikely pairing that led to the design of the Difference Engine and Analytic Engine. Babbage himself never completed a fully working Engine - or at least that's what I'd always thought until I read the awesome 2D Goggles web comic, drawn by animator Sydney Padua.

As well as the comic strips themselves I enjoyed reading about their real-life correspondence and Babbage's journal, itself a very entertaining read, which are plundered without shame, along with other historical sources, to great effect in the comic.

I found 2D Goggles via the excellent Brass Goggles steampunk site. I previously wrote about the modern-day replicas of the Difference Engine - that totally validate the original design - here.

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