Charles Babbage was a mathematician, inventor, and mechanical engineer who is known for his work on the development of the first mechanical computer. He was born in 1791 in Teignmouth, Devon, England, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Babbage's interest in mathematics and computing began at a young age. He was fascinated by the works of other mathematicians, such as Isaac Newton and Leonhard Euler, and was particularly interested in the use of mechanical devices to solve mathematical problems. In 1812, he published a paper on the use of machines to perform mathematical calculations, which sparked the development of his first mechanical computer, the Difference Engine.

The Difference Engine was designed to calculate and print out tables of mathematical functions, such as logarithmic and trigonometric functions. It was intended to be a more accurate and efficient alternative to the human calculation of these tables, which were often used in navigation, surveying, and other scientific and engineering fields. The machine was to be powered by steam and would be made up of a series of mechanical parts, including wheels, gears, and levers, that were controlled by punched cards, similar to those used in early looms and player pianos.

Babbage began work on the Difference Engine in 1822, but the project faced numerous setbacks and was never completed. Despite this, the design of the machine was innovative and ahead of its time, and it is considered to be a precursor to the modern computer.

In 1834, Babbage began work on an even more ambitious project, the Analytical Engine. This machine was intended to be a general-purpose computer that could perform any mathematical calculation that could be expressed in symbolic form. It was to be powered by steam and would be made up of a series of mechanical parts, including wheels, gears, and levers, that were controlled by punched cards. The Analytical Engine was also to include a memory unit, which would allow it to store data and instructions.

Although the Analytical Engine was never completed, it was a significant step forward in the development of computers. Babbage's work inspired other inventors and mathematicians, such as Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the world's first computer programmer, and Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of modern computing.

Throughout his career, Babbage made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics and computing, and his work laid the foundation for the development of the modern computer. He died in 1871, but his legacy lives on as one of the pioneers of computer science.