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Ayres, Leonard Porter (15 September 1879–29 October 1946), educator, statistician, and economist, was born in Niantic, Connecticut, the son of Milan Church Ayres and Georgiana Gall. His father, a clergyman, author, and journalist, was editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser. The family moved to Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, where Leonard received his early education in public schools. An avid bicycle racer, he participated in national matches as a young man. After receiving his Ph.B. degree from Boston University in 1902, he taught school in Puerto Rico, rising rapidly to become general superintendent of the island’s schools and chief of the Education Department’s Statistics Division in 1906. Returning to the states, he moved to New York City and joined the Russell Sage Foundation in 1908 to conduct investigations of the health and education of schoolchildren under the direction of ...

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Bergmann, Gustav (04 May 1906–21 April 1987), philosopher and mathematician, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Fritz Bergmann, an import/export merchant, and Therese Pollack. Before Bergmann took a Ph.D. in mathematics with a minor in philosophy in 1928 at the University of Vienna, he had already been invited to join the famous Vienna Circle. This group of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians had adopted what they called logical positivism (or sometimes logical empiricism): advocating a scientific world view, they rejected traditional metaphysics and religion as meaningless and regarded ethical and aesthetic statements as only expressions of attitudes. As one of the youngest members of the Circle along with his Gymnasium classmate, the mathematical logician ...

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Bronowski, Jacob (18 January 1908–22 August 1974), mathematician and historian and philosopher of science, was born in Łódź (in what is now Poland), the son of Abram Bronowski and Celia Flatto, occupations unknown. During his childhood his family moved first to Germany (1912) and then to England (1920). In 1927 he entered the University of Cambridge to study mathematics, receiving his Ph.D. in 1933. He also helped found and edit a literary magazine, ...

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Byerly, William Elwood (13 December 1849–20 December 1935), mathematician and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Elwood Byerly, a merchant, and Rebecca Potts Wayne. Byerly grew up in New Jersey, where he was privately tutored until he entered Harvard University in the fall of 1867. He received his A.B. in 1871 at the top of his class, which included ...

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Church, Alonzo (14 June 1903–11 August 1995), mathematician and philosopher, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Samuel Robbins Church, a judge, and Mildred Hannah Letterman Parker. Church attended Princeton University, receiving an A.B. in 1924 and a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1927. While at Princeton, Church married Mary Julia Kuczinski, a practical nurse, in 1926; they had three children....

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Dorchester, Daniel (11 March 1827–13 March 1907), Methodist clergyman and statistician of American church history, was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Daniel Dorchester, a Methodist clergyman, and Mary Otis. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, for two years; in 1847 he entered the Methodist ministry. In April 1850 he married Mary Payson Davis; they had seven children. Mary died in 1874, and in 1875 Dorchester married Merial A. Whipple....

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Greenwood, Isaac (11 May 1702–12 October 1745), professor of mathematics and experimental philosophy, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Greenwood and Elizabeth Bronsdon (occupations unknown). Baptized and raised in Increase Mather and Cotton Mather’s North Church, Greenwood followed the Mathers in their scientific interests. At Harvard College he became a favorite of tutor ...

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Grew, Theophilus (?–1759), schoolteacher and mathematician, was of unknown parentage. There is no extant information on his early personal life or education. By the early 1730s he was skilled enough in astronomical computations to prepare almanacs, and presumably he resided in Maryland. His first known almanac, ...

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Halsted, George Bruce (23 November 1853–16 March 1922), professor of mathematics, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Oliver Spencer Halsted, Jr., a lawyer, and Adela Meeker. He attended Princeton University, as had his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and other members of the family. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree there in 1875, he briefly attended the Columbia School of Mines before becoming a student of ...

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Lax, Anneli (23 February 1922–24 September 1999), mathematician and educator, was born Anneli Cahn in Kattowitz, then in Germany but soon part of Poland following a plebiscite, the daughter of Alfred Cahn, a Jewish urological surgeon, and Margarete Kramer. In 1929, to escape discrimination against Germans, the family moved to Berlin. It was a move from the frying pan into the fire; in 1933 Adolf Hitler came to power, and the Cahn family fled, first to Paris, where Anneli learned French. Love of the French language stayed with her the rest of her life. Unable to settle permanently in France, the family moved to Palestine and in 1935 to the United States....

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Lotka, Alfred James (02 March 1880–05 December 1949), statistician and demographer, was born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now Lwiw, Ukraine), the son of Jacques Lotka and Marie Doebely, religious missionaries who, although American citizens, lived most of their lives in Europe. Lotka’s boyhood was spent in France and Germany. He attended the University of Birmingham (England), receiving his B.Sc. in 1901. He was broadly interested in physics, chemistry, and biology, and even at this period saw mathematical links between phenomena conventionally studied in independent disciplines....

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James J. Tattersall and Shawnee L. McMurran

Maddison, Isabel (13 April 1869–22 October 1950), mathematician and administrator, was born in Cumberland, England, the daughter of John Maddison, a civil servant, and Mary Anderson. Maddison studied for four years at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in Cardiff under Principal Viriamu Jones and Professor H. W. Lloyd Tanner. In 1889 she matriculated at Girton College, Cambridge, with a scholarship from the Clothworkers’ Guild....

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Peirce, James Mills (01 May 1834–21 March 1906), mathematician and educator, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Peirce and Sarah Hunt Mills. At the time of James’s birth, his father was University Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Harvard, and he is regarded as both one of the first American scientists of distinction and the foremost American mathematician of his era. Peirce graduated with an A.B. from Harvard in 1853, after which he studied for a year in the Harvard Law School. From 1854 to 1858 he was a tutor in mathematics at Harvard, and he was awarded his A.M. in mathematics in 1856. He then attended the Harvard Divinity School in 1857 and received a B.D. in 1859. From 1859 to 1861 he preached in Unitarian churches in the Boston area; upon abandoning the ministry in 1861, he returned to Harvard and became an assistant professor of mathematics. He was promoted to professor in 1869, and in 1885 he succeeded his father as Perkins Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, a position that he held until his death....

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Rice, Stuart Arthur (21 November 1889–04 June 1969), sociologist, statistician, and government administrator, was born in Wadena, Minnesota, the son of Edward Myron Rice and Ida Emelin Hicks. He graduated from high school in Puyallup, Washington, in 1907, enrolled at the University of Washington, and graduated in 1912. He was employed as a social worker in Washington state and New York City from 1913 through 1919 and received his masters degree in sociology in 1915 from the University of Washington. In 1914 Rice married Chimeta Williamson; the couple had one son. Rice received his doctorate from Columbia in 1924....

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Robie, Thomas (20 March 1689–28 August 1729), tutor, mathematician, and physician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Robie and Elizabeth Greenough, laborers. Baptized in Increase Mather and Cotton Mather’s North Church where his father was a full member, Robie was influenced by the Mathers during a period when they were increasingly interested in scientific pursuits, especially astronomy. Robie was early inclined toward science, but coming from an impecunious family, he could not satisfy his inclination without patronage from the Mathers, ...

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Walker, Francis Amasa (02 July 1840–05 January 1897), statistician, economist, and educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Amasa Walker, a retired shoe manufacturer who became a leading economist, and Hannah Ambrose. After graduating from Amherst College in 1860, Walker worked briefly as a lawyer before joining the Union army in August 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863 and held at the notorious Libby Prison in Richmond. After being released in an exchange, Walker’s ill health forced his resignation from the army in January 1865. He was brevetted brigadier general. His war experience matured him beyond his years, and he never lost his keen interest in military affairs, as revealed in his ...

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Whitehead, Alfred North (15 February 1861–30 December 1947), mathematician, logician, and philosopher, was born at Ramsgate on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England, the son of Alfred Whitehead, an educator and a member of the Church of England clergy, and Maria Sarah Buckmaster. The young Alfred North Whitehead enjoyed the benefits of the exceptionally fine schooling available in the mid-nineteenth century to the gifted sons of families that, even though of modest means, were well connected within church and education circles. For his university preparation he was sent to the Sherborne School in Dorsetshire in southern England, where he easily absorbed the broad curriculum, participated in sports, and reached the pinnacle of student leadership, a position roughly analogous to being president of the student council in an American school....

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Wright, Carroll Davidson (25 July 1840–20 February 1909), statistician and educator, was born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, the son of Nathan Reed Wright, a physician turned Universalist minister and farmer, and Eliza Clark. Relocating with his family as his father filled a series of pulpits, Carroll obtained his early education in the common schools of Chester and Alstead, Vermont; Washington, New Hampshire; and Reading, Massachusetts. Eager to escape farm life, in 1860 he began studying law in Keene, New Hampshire, and supported himself by teaching....

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Wright, Chauncey (20 September 1830–12 September 1875), philosopher and mathematician, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Ansel Wright, a grocer and deputy sheriff, and Elizabeth Boleyn. He graduated from Harvard College in 1852 and excelled in mathematics and science. From 1852 to 1872 he was a mathematician in the employ of the ...