1-18 of 18 results  for:

  • mathematics x
  • Science and technology x
Clear all

Article

Bartlett, William Holms Chambers (04 September 1804–11 February 1893), mathematician and astronomer, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of very poor parents whose names are unknown. The family moved when Bartlett was young to Missouri, where he obtained his early education. While this was apparently meager, his natural abilities were noted, and at the age of seventeen, through the good offices of Senator ...

Article

Bowditch, Nathaniel (26 March 1773–16 March 1838), astronomer and mathematician, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Habakkuk Bowditch, a shipmaster and cooper, and Mary Ingersoll. His family moved to Danvers, Massachusetts, while he was still an infant but returned to Salem when Bowditch was seven. Business reverses forced his family into poverty, and Bowditch’s formal education ended at age ten, when he entered his father’s cooperage shop. In 1785 he became an apprentice clerk in the ship-chandlery shop of Hodges and Ropes in Salem; five years later he moved to the shop of Samuel C. Ward. Between January 1795 and December 1803, Bowditch made five voyages on merchant ships, including four to the East Indies and one to Europe, serving on the last voyage as master and part owner. In March 1798, between voyages, he married Elizabeth Boardman, who died seven months later. He married Mary Ingersoll, a cousin, in 1800; they had eight children....

Article

Brown, Ernest William (29 November 1866–22 July 1938), mathematical astronomer, was born in Hull, England, the son of William Brown, a farmer and sometime lumber merchant, and Emma Martin. He was educated at the Hull and East Riding College, and upon winning a scholarship in mathematics in 1884 he entered Christ’s College, University of Cambridge. He received his B.A. in 1887 having been ranked sixth in the Mathematical Tripos, and subsequently he became a Fellow of Christ’s College from 1889 to 1895. Brown received his M.A. in 1891, after which he came to the United States and to Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. There he was successively an instructor (1891–1893), professor of applied mathematics (1893–1900), and professor of mathematics (1900–1907). Brown was awarded a Cambridge Sc.D. in 1897 and won the John Couch Adams Prize in 1907 for his essay “Inequalities in the Motion of the Moon Due to the Direct Action of the Planets.” In 1907 he accepted a position at Yale University as professor of mathematics. From 1921 to 1931 Brown was the Sterling Professor of Mathematics at Yale, and from 1931 until his retirement in 1932 he was the first Josiah Willard Gibbs Professor of Mathematics there. In 1903 in a poll conducted by ...

Article

Buchanan, Herbert Earle (04 October 1881–17 January 1974), mathematician, astronomer, and educator, was born in Cane Hill, Arkansas, the son of James A. Buchanan, farmer, surveyor, and Presbyterian minister, and Susan Clark Williamson. Until he was fourteen, he was educated at home and in a local “subscription” school (in other words, several families got up a “subscription” to hire a teacher for several months of the year). Then he moved to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas’s Preparatory School. There Buchanan discovered his love and talent for mathematics. However, lack of money eventually sent him back to the family farm for more than a year before he was able to finish the preparatory school and enter the university in 1898. He took an A.B. with honors in mathematics in 1902. During his senior year the sudden death of one of his professors gave Buchanan the opportunity to teach mathematics, launching a career that spanned fifty-two years of service....

Article

Caldwell, Joseph (21 April 1773–27 January 1835), astronomer, mathematician, and educator, was born in Lamington, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Caldwell and Rachel Harker. The death of her husband just two days before Joseph’s birth left Rachel Caldwell nearly destitute. In 1784 she moved the family to Princeton, where the court ordered eleven-year-old Joseph to be bound out to a printer. His mother immediately took steps to place him in a local grammar school; her intervention brought Joseph under the guidance of the eminent ...

Article

Chandler, Seth Carlo, Jr. (16 September 1846–31 December 1913), astronomer, geodesist, and actuary, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Seth Carlo Chandler, Sr., a businessman, and Mary Cheever. Chandler attended the English High School at Boston, graduating in 1861. During his last year in high school he became associated with ...

Image

Andrew Ellicott. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98345).

Article

Ellicott, Andrew (24 January 1754–20 August 1820), mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor, was born in Buckingham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Ellicott, a millwright and clockmaker, and Judith Bleaker. The family belonged to the Society of Friends. After attending a Quaker elementary school in Solesbury, Ellicott was enrolled at the age of fifteen in ...

Article

Godfrey, Thomas (10 January 1704– December 1749), glazier, mathematician, and astronomer, was born in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Godfrey, a farmer and maltster, and Catherine (maiden name unknown). His father died when he was one year old; his mother later remarried, and at the age of twelve Thomas was apprenticed to a glazier. When he came of age in 1725, he inherited his father’s property in Bristol; at this time he established himself in business in Philadelphia, adding the sideline of plumber to his trade of glazier. He glazed windows for the state house in 1732 and 1733 and later for ...

Article

Hill, George William (03 March 1838–16 April 1914), mathematical astronomer, was born in New York City, the son of John William Hill, an artist and engraver, and Catherine Smith. In 1846 his family moved to a farm near West Nyack, New York, and he received his secondary schooling there. Although his preparatory education was rudimentary, Hill showed a marked aptitude for mathematics and entered Rutgers College in 1855....

Article

Moulton, Forest Ray (29 April 1872–07 December 1952), theoretical astronomer and mathematician, was born in a log cabin near LeRoy, Michigan, the son of Belah G. Moulton and Mary C. Smith, farmers. His father, a Civil War veteran, had claimed 160 acres in the then still-forested region between Grand Rapids and Traverse City and had cleared and plowed it himself. His mother named Forest, the first of their eight children, for “a perfect ray of light and happiness in that dense forest.” There was no school at first, and Moulton learned mostly at home from his parents and grandparents, then taught in a rural school himself before entering Albion College. He graduated with an A.B. in 1894 and a year later entered the University of Chicago as a graduate student. There he received a Ph.D. in astronomy and mathematics, the first awarded at Chicago, in 1899, summa cum laude. Moulton, who had been a part-time instructor in his last two years as a student at Albion, became an assistant in 1896, his second year at Chicago (also the year he married Estella L. Gillette, with whom he would have five children). He became an associate in 1898 and continued to rise through the ranks from instructor to full professor, which he reached in 1912. The main part of the University of Chicago astronomy department was at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, specializing in observational astrophysics, while Moulton was the department’s chief representative on the campus, working in theoretical astronomy and teaching it and mathematics....

Article

Newton, Hubert Anson (19 March 1830–12 August 1896), astronomer and mathematician, was born in Sherburne, New York, the son of William Newton, a railroad and canal engineer, and Lois Butler. Newton graduated from Yale College in 1850 with a special interest in mathematics, although he had also studied astronomy there under ...

Article

Nicollet, Joseph Nicolas (29 July 1786–11 September 1843), explorer, astronomer, and mathematician, was born in Cluses, a small town in the duchy of Savoy in the Alpine region of eastern France, the son of Francois Nicollet, an artisan and watch finisher, and Marie Dussaugey. He began his education in the local school where his godfather, Nicolas Berthoud, was schoolmaster. Through the Abbé Ressiat who taught him Latin he was sent to the neighboring town of Samoens to attend the Latin school there, the Manor Berouse. Since his family was impoverished after the French invasion of 1792, he tutored younger children to earn his tuition, distinguishing himself as an excellent student, particularly in mathematics. He also developed as a fine violinist. As Napoleon restricted religious schools, in 1804 Nicollet left the Manor Berouse to attend a secular institution. This was L’École Normale in Chambéry, a larger, more cosmopolitan town and the capital of the French Department of Mont Blanc. He received further training in mathematics and the natural sciences but longed to study in Paris with some of the great scholars of the age. In 1809 his school principal, George Marie Raymond, facilitated his admission to L’École Normale in Paris, where he prepared for a teaching career. Meanwhile, he became a part-time instructor at the Lycée Imperial, specializing in astronomy and mathematics. He also began to publish scholarly papers and wrote encyclopedia articles to support himself. By 1817 he had attracted the attention of the Marquis de Pierre Simon Laplace, one of the eminent astronomers of the day, who was also a professor of mathematics at the École Militaire. Laplace was impressed by Nicollet and appointed him secretary of the observatory at the institution....

Article

Peirce, Benjamin (04 April 1809–06 October 1880), mathematician and astronomer, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Peirce, a state legislator and Harvard librarian, and Lydia Ropes Nichols. As a youth he attended the Salem Private Grammar School with Henry Ingersoll Bowditch...

Image

David Rittenhouse. Oil on canvas, 1796, by Charles Willson Peale. The Art Experience.

Article

Rittenhouse, David (08 April 1732–26 June 1796), astronomer, mathematician, and maker of mathematical instruments, was born at Paper Mill Run near Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Matthias Rittenhouse, a farmer, and Elizabeth Williams. Naturally talented in mathematics and mechanics, Rittenhouse constructed a model of a water mill at the age of eight, a wooden clock at about the age of seventeen, and a brass clock a short time later. He was fascinated with mathematics from his early years but, with little opportunity for schooling, was largely self-taught from books on elementary arithmetic and geometry and a box of tools inherited from an uncle, David Williams, a skilled furniture maker. From a translation of Isaac Newton’s ...

Article

Safford, Truman Henry (06 January 1836–13 June 1901), astronomer and mathematician, was born in Royalton, Vermont, the son of Truman Hopson Safford, a farmer, and Louisa Parker, who, prior to her marriage, was a teacher. A sickly child, Safford was unable to attend school regularly and instead studied privately from the books in the family library. As early as the age of two he had learned the alphabet, and by the age of six he had exhibited the ability to carry out involved mathematical calculations, mentally and on paper, with surprising rapidity and accuracy. On the occasion of one test of his skills, for example, he reportedly squared the number 365,365,365,365,365,365 correctly in about one minute....

Article

West, Benjamin ( March 1730–26 August 1813), astronomer and mathematician, was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, the son of John West, a farmer. His mother’s name is not known. Not long after his birth, the family moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, where West worked discontentedly on the family farm. West attended the town school for only three months and took a course of navigation offered by Captain Woodbury, who waived his fees for the poor farm boy. Otherwise, West was self-educated, borrowing books from local parsons’ libraries. In 1753 he married Elizabeth Smith; they had eight children. That same year West moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he opened a private school, and then a dry-goods store that also sold books and was, by some accounts, the first bookstore in town. After nearly twenty years, his business failed and his effects were seized by creditors. His bankruptcy appears to have been a consequence of the depreciation of paper currency and the decline in transatlantic commerce just before the American Revolution. After his bankruptcy, some Bostonians offered to set him up in the book business again, but West doubted he could support his growing family this way. As a patriot, he chose to manufacture clothing for the American troops during the war. At war’s end, he reopened his school in Providence....