Back in 2009 I posted this blog ...
Have you heard of Thomas Fowler, the mathematician and inventor who could have changed the history of computing ? Probably not. Neither had I until I came across an old newspaper cutting a few years back and got hooked. After years buried in dusty archives it dawned on me that this man was as important a player in the history of computing as Charles Babbage. Even more significantly, today's movers and shakers are suggesting that the principles Fowler proposed 150 years ago are actually the future of computing - only no-one seems to know of him.
His story is filled with agonizing examples of bad luck, self-sabotage and prejudice - all of which led to him dying without getting the credit for an inspirational invention. In 1841 he said:
…my greatest wish was to have had a thorough investigation of the whole principle of the Machine and its details as far as I could then explain them, in a way very different from a popular exhibition. - this investigation I hope it will still have by some first rate Man of Science before it be laid aside or adopted.
But it never happened and he died a bitterly disappointed man. Working on the principle of better late than never, my book on the story behind the man and his genius is finally being published on June 25th.
At the launch I'll give a presentation on the extraordinary story of Thomas Fowler. It's a free event so please join me:
Saturday June 25th, 3pm in the gallery at the Plough in Great Torrington