Today we celebrate the birth of Charles Babbage, the man who in the 19th century invented calculating machines that, although they were never realised in his lifetime, are rightly see as the forerunners of modern programmable computers.
Charles Babbage was born in Surrey on Boxing Day (26 December) 1791, the son of a banker. This may have been the source of his fascination with numbers but whatever the reason he occupied the Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge from 1828 to 1839. To characterise Babbage as a mathematician is misleading because his interests were much more wide ranging - a polymath is closer.
The story of his life, his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine can be found in our history article, Charles Babbage.
What if Babbage.. the story of what might have happened if Babbage had managed to complete his great work.
Plans to build Babbage's Analytical Engine