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Babbage’s difference engine is really, really pretty

Hands up if you knew there was a working replica of Babbage’s difference engine in California.

(My hand is not up.)

This glorious machine lives in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. A company called xRez Studio, which specialises in taking extremely high resolution gigapixel photos of things, has taken some extremely high resolution gigapixel photos of the difference engine. They’re so lovely that it feels wrong to be looking at them at work.

Calculus of the Nervous System

Emily Howard - Photo by Daniel RMAnyone who caught any of this summer’s BBC Proms may have noticed that in the midst of the World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival, someone managed to sneak in a bit of mathematics. Emily Howard, whose degree was in Mathematics and Computing at Oxford, has become a composer whose works are performed alongside Glinka and Shostakovich. I spoke to Emily about her latest composition, Calculus of the Nervous System, which was part of this year’s Prom 51, on 21st August.

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