Math in the Media

Also see the Blog on Math Blogs

Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Mr. Babbage and the Buskers," by Stephanie Pain. New Scientist, 16 August 2003,pages 42-43.

Charles Babbage is best known for his invention in the 19th century of thefirst mechanical calculator, a precursor of the modern-day computer. Thisarticle takes a look at a different part of Babbage's life: His efforts to banstreet musicians in London. His dislike of the buskers that interrupted hiswork may not have been due simply to a curmudgeonly streak. The article notesthat, after Babbage died, an autopsy showed that he suffered from restrictedblood flow to the head, which may have caused an unusual sensitivity to sound.

--- Allyn Jackson

American Mathematical Society