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Victorian Computer Science

Cogs and a Nebula cloud: copyright www.istock.com 2733390

The foundations of computing laid in the 18th century

We think of the victorians as iron, bridge, rail and ship builders - of a time when great civil and mechanical engineering projects came to fruition. It was and age of coal, of steam power, of cogs and girders. It was also an age where the foundations of the computer revolution were laid. Ideas and innovations flowed that would ultimately lead to the computer age. The time wasn't quite ripe for that yet, but computer science ideas were certainly flowing at the soires, in fiction and in the labs. Here we look at just some of the people who laid that foundation and the interconnections of the ideas and the people.

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Cogs, Electricity, Ideas and Innovation

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla The invisible genius

Alexander Bell: Businessman

A Morse Tapper It's good to talk

Charles Dickens and Secret Messages

A fan Dickens Knitting in code

Louis Braille: Data Representation

A book of Braille in shadows Letters from the Victorian Smog

Mary Shelley: Novels

Cartoon of Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's Monster

Mary Shelley: Artificial Life

A creature hatching Pass the Screwdriver Please, Igor

Andrew Crosse: The Real Frankenstein

Cartoon of Frankenstein's monster A Storm in a Bell Jar

Francis Galton: Evolution and Intelligence

DNA manipulated by a robot arm Clever Genes

Francis Galton: Quantum Computers

Ball bearings scattered Balls, beams and quantum computers

This area and much of the research described in it has been supported by EPSRC. This issue and/or the research in it has been supported by the EPSRC project : The Social Machine of Mathematics on research grants (EP/K040251/2). It has also been supported by the Department of Education and Mayor of London through LSEF project teachinglondoncomputing.org and Google.