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Charles Babbage Quotes

An English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer.
(1791 - 1871)

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A powerful attraction exists, therefore, to the promotion of a study and of duties of all others engrossing the time most completely, and which is less benefited than most others by any acquaintance with science.

A tool is usually more simple than a machine; it is generally used with the hand, whilst a machine is frequently moved by animal or steam power.

Another mode of accumulating power arises from lifting a weight and then allowing it to fall.

At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every new tool, human labour becomes abridged.

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.

I am inclined to attach some importance to the new system of manufacturing; and venture to throw it out with the hope of its receiving a full discussion among those who are most interestedin the subject.

In England, the profession of the law is that which seems to hold out the strongest attraction to talent, from the circumstance, that in it ability, coupled with exertion, even though unaided by patronage, cannot fail of obtaining reward.

In mathematics we have long since drawn the rein, and given over a hopeless race.

In turning from the smaller instruments in frequent use to the larger and more important machines, the economy arising from the increase of velocity becomes more striking.

It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that some portion of the neglect of science in England, may be attributed to the system of education we pursue.

It will be readily admitted, that a degree conferred by an university, ought to be a pledge to the public that he who holds it possesses a certain quantity of knowledge.

On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Perhaps it would be better for science, that all criticism should be avowed.

Some kinds of nails, such as those used for defending the soles of coarse shoes, called hobnails, require a particular form of the head, which is made by the stroke of a die.

Surely, if knowledge is valuable, it can never be good policy in a country far wealthier than Tuscany, to allow a genius like Mr. Dalton's, to be employed in the drudgery of elementary instruction.

Telegraphs are machines for conveying information over extensive lines with great rapidity.

That science has long been neglected and declining in England, is not an opinion originating with me, but is shared by many, and has been expressed by higher authority than mine.

That the state of knowledge in any country will exert a directive influence on the general system of instruction adopted in it, is a principle too obvious to require investigation.

The accumulation of skill and science which has been directed to diminish the difficulty of producing manufactured goods, has not been beneficial to that country alone in which it is concentrated; distant kingdoms have participated in its advantages.

The difference between a tool and a machine is not capable of very precise distinction; nor is it necessary, in a popular explanation of those terms, to limit very strictly their acceptation.

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