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BABBAGE, Charles

Reflections on the decline of science in England and on some of its causes   London Printed for B. Fellowes, Ludgate Street; and J. Booth, Duke Street, Portland Place 1830

8vo. xvi, 228 pp., plus 4 pag Cloth, new endpapers; interior with occasional brown spots, otherwise a very good copy from the library of Arnold Thackray with his bookplate. $1,250.00

First edition of this polemic attack against the Royal Society. Babbage, a founding member of the Analytical Society, in a political rant decimates the president of the disorganized Royal Society for his power, for its pandering to the nobility, and to the system of management by which the Royal Society is governed. "The Society has, for years, been managed by a party, or coterie . . . united by no expressed compact or written regulations, but who act together from a community of principles. The great object of this, as of all other parties, has been to maintain itself in power, and to divide, as far as it could, all the good things amongst its members. It has usually consisted of persons of very moderate talent, who have had the prudence, whenever they could, to associate themselves with other members of greater ability, provided these latter would not oppose the system" (p. 141).

The Analytic Society was originally formed to close a perceived gap between the acknowledged importance of science on the Continent and the lack of motivation in promoting English science, specifically by the Royal Society. One result of the efforts of the Analytic Society was to have Leibnizian calculus supercede Newtonian calculus in British education. 'This work excited a vigerous correspondence in the pages of the Philosophical Magazine that led to Babbage's reputation as a thorn in the side of the British scientific establishment" - Tomash Catalogue, B.51. This book is also frequently cited as a reference to defining means of cheating in science. Babbage includes his observations of hoaxing, forging, "trimming" and "cooking.

Babbage (1792-1871), noted English mathematician and Lucasian Professor at Trinity College, invented the speedometer, the cowcatcher, and the analysis now termed "operations research." His other contributions included a uniform postage rate, parcel post, submarine navigation, and Greenwich Time Signals.


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