The Exposition of 1851: Or, Views of the Industry, the Science, and the Government, of England

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Charles Babbage (1791-1871), one of the most original thinkers of the nineteenth century, is best remembered as the pioneer of computing technology, but he also made significant contributions to mathematics, mechanical engineering, philosophy and political economy. This book, first published in 1851, is an example of his active and effective campaigning for the role of scientists and the place of science, technology and technical education in society. Ahead of his time, Babbage was critical of government and the scientific community for not valuing science and technology in education. The work develops these themes, using the Great Exhibition as a backdrop to highlight the political and cultural factors that can impede scientific and technological progress. Britain's industrial supremacy, he argued, disguised the need to develop technical education. As relevant and persuasive today as in 1851, Babbage's arguments emphasise the fundamental importance of technology to the advancement of society.