Ex. 25. Read and translate the texts, using a dictionary. Write a summary of one of the text. Make use of the phrases given in UNIT TWO.


(1791 – 1871)

Charles Babbage is a British mathematician and inventor, who designed and built mechanical computing machines on principles that anticipated the modern electronic computer. We honor him as «the father of the computer».

Charles was born in Teignmouth, Devonshire, and was educated at the University of Cambridge.

Babbage was working on developing the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine in the 1820s and 1830s respectively. These mechanical devices are considered the forerunners of the modern digital computer. Unfortunately, there was no way to build the machines with 19th-century technology. Neither the Difference Engine nor the Analytical Engine was completed. Babbage's design was forgotten until his unpublished notebooks were discovered in 1937. In 1991, British scientists, following Babbage's detailed drawings and specifications, constructed the Difference Engine No.2. The machine works flawlessly, proving that Babbage's design was sound.

The inventor of that 19th-century computer was a very eccentric figure. Most mathematicians live personal lives not too much different from anyone else's. They just happen to do mathematics instead of driving trucks or running stores or filling teeth. But Charles Babbage was the exception.

For example, all his life, Babbage waged a campaign against London organ-grinders1. He blamed them for the noise they made. Babbage was not satisfied with writing anti-organ-grinder letters to newspapers and members of Parliament. He personally hauled several organ-grinders before magistrates and became furious when the magistrates refused to throw them in jail.

Or consider this. Babbage took Tennyson's poem «Vision of Sin», which contained this couplet:

Every minute dies a man,

Every minute one is born.

Babbage pointed out (correctly) that if this were true, the population of the earth would remain constant. In a letter to the poet, Babbage suggested another variant:

Every moment dies a man,

And one and a sixteenth is born.

Babbage emphasized that one and a sixteenth was not exact, but he thought that it would be «good enough for poetry».

Yet, despite his eccentricities, Babbage was a genius. He was a prolific inventor. Babbage made notable contributions in different areas of science and technology. He reformed the postal system in England and compiled the first reliable actuarial tables2. His inventions include the ophthalmoscope for examining the retina of the eye, the locomotive cowcatcher3 and the speedometer. Babbage's book Economy of Machines and Manufactures (1832) initiated the field of study known today as operational research4 – the science of how to carry out business and industrial operations as efficiently as possible. Babbage first suggested that the weather of past years could be read from tree rings. He also took a lifelong interest in skeleton keys, ciphers and mechanical dolls.


Notes: 1organ-grinder – шарманщик;

2actuarial tables – актуарные таблицы (относящиеся к делопроизводству);

3cowcatcher – предохранительная решётка (локомотива);

4operational research – операционное исследование.




Even though the Analytical Engine was never constructed, a demonstration program for it was written. The author of that program has the honor of being the world's first computer programmer. Her name was Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace.

She was the daughter of the 6th Lord Byron (the famous poet) and Annabella Byron, who legally separated two months after her birth. Her father then left Britain forever and his daughter never knew him personally.

Ada was a liberated woman at a time when this was not fashionable. In addition to her interest in foreign languages and music, she was also an excellent mathematician. The latter was very unusual for a young lady in the 19th century. (She was also fond of horseracing, which was even more unusual.) Ada's mathematical abilities became apparent when she was only 15. She studied mathematics with one of the most well known mathematicians of her time, Augustus de Morgan.

In 1833, she met the British mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. At that time, he was working on the Difference Engine, a mechanical device designed to solve complicated mathematical problems. She became interested in Babbage's inventions.

In 1842, Lady Lovelace discovered a paper on the Analytical Engine that had been written in French by an Italian engineer. She translated the paper into English. At Babbage's suggestion, she added her own notes, which turned out to be twice as long as the paper itself. Much of what we know today about the Analytical Engine comes from Lady Lovelace's notes.

To demonstrate how the Analytical Engine would work, Lady Lovelace included in her notes a program for calculating a certain series of numbers that is of interest to mathematicians. This was the world's first computer program. «We may say more aptly», Lady Lovelace wrote, «that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves.» Most aptly said indeed!

The United States Department of Defense honored Ada Byron's achievements in the computer field in 1979, naming its high-level programming language, ADA, after her.


Ex. 26. Render the following sentences into English. (TIP: The translation of some sentences can be found in the texts given above.)

1. Калькуляторы, сделанные Паскалем и Лейбницем, были ненадёжны, так как технология того времени была не в состоянии производить детали c необходимой точностью.

2. Компьютер, полностью современный по концепции, был задуман в 30-х годах IX века.

3. Бэббидж был плодотворным изобретателем. Его разработки включают такие устройства, как офтальмоскоп, отмычки, спидометр, «скотосбрасыватель» и др. Несмотря на свою эксцентричность, он был гением.

4. Одной из причин, по которой Бэббидж забросил свою разностную машину, была гораздо лучшая идея, пришедшая ему в голову. Вдохновленный жаккардовым станком, управляемым перфокартами, Бэббидж захотел сделать перфокарточное счётное устройство.

5. Именно благодаря аналитической машине, которую он никогда не завершил, Бэббидж имеет честь называться «создателем компьютера».

6. Автор демонстрационной программы для аналитической машины Ада Ловлис стала первым в мире компьютерным программистом. Переводя по предложению Бэббиджа статью об аналитической машине, написанную итальянским инженером по-французски, она добавим собственные замечания, которые оказались в два раза длиннее самой статьи.

7. Аналитическая машина создаёт алгебраические узоры точно так же, как станок Жаккарда ткет цветы и листья. Действительно удачно сказано!




Ex. 1. Practice the reading of the following words and phrases:

ton, concept, automatically, electricity, version, ballistics, decade, cryptographer, to reprogram, to adapt, innovation, efficient, laboratory, company, giant, idea, result, miniaturization, diode, component, microchip, microprocessor, microsecond, microwave, nanosecond, to characterize, medicine, industry, dynamic, intelligent, natural, technology Japan, Japanese, Europe, European;

atomic bomb, electromagnetic components, specialized technician, germanium transistor, silicon chip.


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