Charles Babbage

1791 (London) – 1871 (London)

Babbage and John Herschel became friends as students, and stayed close colleagues for life. With Peacock and Whewell they started a society at Cambridge to counter the poor maths teaching there. Babbage discussed geothermal ideas with Lyell, map-making with Humboldt (who invited Gauss to meet Babbage over breakfast), wrote to Davy about a calculating engine, and influenced both Darwin and Mill. Among his huge circle of friends and correspondents were Dickens, Stowe, Ruskin and Mendelssohn; Cameron, Martineau and Somerville; Nasmyth, Brunel, Boole and de Morgan; and scientists from Ampère to Le Verrier.