The Analytical Machine

I have recently finished reading The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick and I haven’t been so excited about a non-fiction book for a very long long time. More than 400 pages about the history of science may be off-putting at first glance but Gleick is simply a master. He carefully blends the history of the scientific discoveries with the personal life of the scientists and the society around them, until you truly appreciate the ambition (and sometimes the loneliness) of their visions.

I’m not in the business of writing reviews but I really wanted to recommend this book somehow, so I decided to draw an illustration inspired by the 4th chapter of the book. Here Gleick tells the story of Charles Babbage and his colossal Analytical Machine. This tragic character – definitely one of my favourites – somehow dreamt of a modern ‘computer’ in the midst of the industrial revolution. He spent most of his life trying to build one, with little support besides the passionate letters of Ada Byron, daughter of the famous poet and pretty badass lady herself: self-taught mathematician and basically the world’s first computer programmer.

I am seriously thinking about turning their story into a short comic…

 

Analytical Machine Babbage Farinella

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