Science Museum

2007-11-04

So, week before last my parents and myself went up to visit my sister in London. She is getting married sometime next year (I’m unsure as to whether the date has been set yet or not), and wanted to take my mum wedding-dress shopping. Seeing as dress shopping is an inherently feminine past-time, my dad and I decided beforehand to take the tube into London and visit the Science Museum while my sister and mum were doing their thing.

Turned out, that it was a bit of a mistake going on the day that we chose. My sister, being a teacher, decided that it would be best to not skip her teaching duties just for the sake of wedding stuff. This meant that she organised to do her dress shopping in the Half-Term period when school is out for a week. This meant, however, that when my father and I got to the Science Museum there was a massive queue with all the young families. We felt quite out of place, two adults without any children in tow.The museum didn’t disappoint though and, while the “Science of spying” exhibit was a pay-for section (so we decided against visiting that part), we managed to view the telecommunications and history of computing exhibits along with a lot of other bits in between.

The most fascinating part to me was the section on computing where the museum was in the process of building one of Charles Babbage’s inventions, the Difference Engine #2.

Another of Babbage’s inventions, built by his son after his death, the Analytical Engine, was a fully mechanical programmable computer with everything that a modern computer needs to operate, including: input, output, memory and central processor. This machine is considered to be the forerunner to all computer science of today’s modern age, and Charles Babbage is heralded as the grand-father of Computing.