I’m back from my talk on Babbage and his quest to build the first computer in the 19th century at NYU/Poly in Brooklyn. A great turnout–over 50–made up of computer scientists as well as members of the humanities and social science department (and, I think, a couple of Ada Lovelace fans from the local community). It was the first time the two departments had co-sponsored a talk, possibly the first time that the members of the two departments were even in the same room! I am so glad to have helped bring that about, especially given the book’s message about the need to bridge the ever-growing gap between the scientists and the humanists.
Both groups seemed to love hearing about Babbage and his three friends! I spoke about how the meetings of the Philosophical Breakfast Club inspired and influenced Babbage’s project, and then about the workings of the engines themselves.
A lively Q & A session ensued. I had a blast, and I appreciate the invitation and the fabulous audience.