Saturday, 27 January 2018

Charles Dodgson / Lewis Carroll - Mathematician, Storyteller, Inventor, Photographer

The author Lewis Carroll, real name Charles Dodgson, was born on January 27th 1832 in Daresbury, England.

He was a mathematician by profession. He gained fame as a children's author with classics such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But he was also an avid early photographer and an inventor. Just the kind of characteristics we promote here on Tech Age Kids. He also loved to write logic puzzles.


As both a mathematician and an author, Dodgson / Carroll was fascinated with logic. He completed mathematics works on logic as well as recreational logic puzzles and he plays around with logic in his story books.

Logical-thinking is a hugely important skill for computer science and coding. Children who enjoy puzzles are likely to enjoy coding and computational thinking too.

Carroll wrote recreational puzzle articles and books. The language uses makes them a bit hard for modern children to access but there are some excellent puzzle books inspired by Lewis Carroll which we can recommend.

Raymond Smullyan wrote the excellent Alice in Puzzle Land which draws inspiration from Carroll's work. Like Lewis Carroll, Raymond Smullyan had a wide range of interests including maths and logic.

We also love Puzzles in Wonderland by R W Galland, it's a beautifully illustrated collection of puzzles for children.


"It's my own invention." - White Knight, Alice Through the Looking Glass
Charles Dodgson was also an inventor. One of his inventions was the Nyctograph, a grid that allowed him to write legibly in the dark with an alphabet he invented.

The White Knight character in Alice Through the Looking Glass (the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) is an inventor who has kitted out his horse with all manner of inventions. They don't all work quite as intended but the Knight has clearly enjoying designed and making his own gadgets.

Lewis Carroll also invented, or at least popularised, the Doublet or Word Ladder, a kind of puzzle where you have to get from one word to another by changing a letter at a time. Each word in the ladder must be a real word.

micro:bit in Wonderland

We've been inspired by Lewis Carroll to create our book micro:bit in Wonderland, a set of projects that combine coding and craft using the BBC micro:bit mini computer.

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