Doron Swade

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Charles Babbage's Difference Engine in the Science Museum (London), built on a project led by Doron Swade.

Doron Swade MBE is a museum curator and author, specialising in the history of computing. He is especially known for his work on the computer pioneer Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine.[1]

Swade was originally from South Africa. He has studied electronics engineering, history, machine intelligence, philosophy of science and physics at a number of universities including the University of Cape Town, University of Cambridge, and University College London (UCL).[2] He holds a BSc in physics and electronics engineering, an MSc in control engineering, and a PhD in the history of computing from UCL.

He has been a curator at the Science Museum in London, England,[3][4] and the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, California, United States.[2] At the Science Museum, he curated the computing and electronics collections and rose to be Assistant Director and Head of Collections. His major project at the museum was to organise the construction of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, in collaboration with Dr Allan Bromley who studied Babbage's original drawings at the Science Museum.

In 1989, Swade was a co-founder of the Computer Conservation Society, a specialist group of the British Computer Society (BCS), with regular meetings at the Science Museum. He is a Fellow of the BCS and a Chartered Engineer.

Swade is a Visiting Professor in the History of Computing at the University of Portsmouth, UK.[5] He is also an Honorary Research Fellow in Computer Science at Royal Holloway, University of London.[2]

He appeared in the In Our Time program on Ada Lovelace, a collaborator with Charles Babbage, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2008.[5]

Swade was awarded an MBE for services to the history of computing in the UK New Year Honours 2009 list.[6]


Swade has written the following books:[7][8]


  1. ^ Doron Swade, Computing History, UK.
  2. ^ a b c Doron Swade, Computer History Museum, California, USA.
  3. ^ Doron Swade and the Phillip's Economic Computer, 1990s, Science Museum, London, UK.
  4. ^ Doron Swade, 'Two Cultures: Computer Art and the Science Museum', chapter 16, pages 203–218. In Paul Brown, Charlie Gere, Nicholas Lambert, and Catherine Mason (editors), White Heat Cold Logic. The MIT Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-262-02653-6.
  5. ^ a b Ada Lovelace, In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, 6 March 2008.
  6. ^ Kingston computer historian, nurse and volunteer get New Year honours, Your Local Guardian, UK, 31 December 2008.
  7. ^ Doron Swade: Bibliography,
  8. ^ Doron Swade, LibraryThing.

Charles Babbage, 'Irascible Genius,' and the First Computer

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