BSHM Gazetteer -- C
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Written by David Singmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org ). Links to relevant external
websites are being added occasionally to this gazetteer but the BSHM has no
control over the availability or contents of these links. Please inform the
BSHM Webster (A.Mann@gre.ac.uk) of any broken links.
[When the gazetteer was edited for serial publication in the BSHM Newsletter,
references were omitted since the bibliography was too substantial to be included.
Publication on the web permits references to be included for material now being
added to the website, but they are still absent from material originally prepared
for the Newsletter - TM, August 2002]
The University of Cambridge | Colleges
| Other institutions | Individuals
- Canterbury, Kent
- Catherington, Hampshire
- Chalfont St Giles, Bucks
- Chalford, Glos
- Chard, Dorset
- Charlton King's, Glos
- Cheltenham, Glos
- Chevening, Kent
- Cloyne, Co. Cork
- Coates, Fife
- Cockermouth, Cumbria
- Corsock, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
- Cranleigh, Surrey
- Crich, Derbyshire
- Croft, Lancashire
- Croft-on-Tees, Co. Durham
Return to the top.
Dates from before 1209 when a group of students left Oxford after a riot and
went to Cambridge. The first recorded Chancellor was elected by 1246. Town and
gown riots occurred in Cambridge as well and in 1381 all the university records
were publicly burned, resulting in considerable obscurity about the early history
of the university. The Cambridge system has undergone many changes, but from
1747-1748 until 1910 there was an extended examination, called the Tripos, and
the top students were ranked in order as senior wrangler, second wrangler, ....
The total numbers of students with mathematical honours for 1747/48 to 1899
are--Trinity 5948; St. John's 4224; Gonville and Caius 1533; with the other
colleges trailing behind. By the early 20C, the Tripos system was replaced by
unordered results within classes, like most other English universities.
Cambridge has a number of ancient professorships and it is convenient to list
them first. The dates of office tend to differ in the sources.
The Lucasian professorship is the oldest mathematical chair at Cambridge, founded
by Henry Lucas in 1663. Holders have been: Isaac Barrow (1663-1669);
Isaac Newton (1669-1702); William Whiston
(1702-1710), best known for his translation of Flavius Josephus' historical
writings and for being expelled for heresy, but who also popularised Newton's
work; Nicolas Saunderson (1711-1739), famous for overcoming
the apparent handicap of blindness; John Colson (1739-1760)
who invented negative digits; Edward Waring (1760-1798) of
Waring's problem; Isaac Milner (1798-1820) who gave no lectures;
Robert Woodhouse (1820-1822) who wrote the first English calculus
using Leibniz's notation and a book on the history of the calculus of variations;
Thomas Turton (1822-1826); G. B. Airy (1826-1828);
Charles Babbage (1828-1839) who never gave a lecture; Joshua
King (1839-1849); G. G. Stokes (1849-1903); Joseph
Larmor (1903-1932); Paul Dirac (1932-1969); Michael
Lighthill (1969-1979); Stephen Hawking (1979- ). Notes
on most of these are given in the 'Individuals' section of this gazetteer, below.
The Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy has often been
of mathematical interest. It was founded in 1704 by Thomas Plume. Notable holders
of the Plumian chair have been: Roger Cotes (first holder,
1707-1716); Robert Smith (1716-1760); Robert Woodhouse
(1822-1828); G. B. Airy (1828-1836); James Challis
(1836-1883); G. H. Darwin (1883-1912); A.
S. Eddington (1913-1944); G. V. Jeffreys (1946-1958);
M. J. Rees (1973-1992); R. S. Ellis (as of
Another Cambridge chair of relevance is theLowndean chair of astronomy and
geometry, founded by Thomas Lowndes in 1749. Holders include: Roger
Long (1749- 1770); George Peacock (1836-1858, but
he ceased to lecture after becoming Dean of Ely in 1839); John Couch
Adams (1858-1892); R. S. Ball (1892-1913); H.
F. Baker (1914-1936); W. V. D. Hodge (1936-1970);
J. F. Adams (1970-1988).
In her will of 1701, Lady Sadleir endowed a number of lectureships on algebra.
These were reformed into the Sadleirian chair of mathematics in 1860 and the
holder has generally been a Trinity man. The holders have been: Arthur
Cayley (1863-1895), for whom the Chair was re-established; A.
R. Forsyth (1895-1910); E. W. Hobson (1910-1931);
G. H. Hardy (1931-1942); L. J. Mordell (1945-1953);
Philip Hall (1953-1967); J. W. S. Cassels
(1967?-1986?); J. H. Coates (1986- ).
The Cavendish Laboratory in Free School Lane (plaque) was the world's major
physics laboratory from its founding in c. 1870. In 1868, a committee had recommended
establishment of such a laboratory and a chair. The Chancellor of the University,
the Duke of Devonshire, who had been first wrangler and first Smith's prizeman,
donated the funds in memory of his great-uncle Henry Cavendish. Clerk
Maxwell was elected to the Professorship in March 1871. The building
was completed and formally presented to the University on 16 Jun 1874. The Duke
also provided funds for the necessary apparatus during the following years.
The Laboratory has recently moved to a new site in Madingley Road west of the
town. (Such a professorship might well have been founded a generation earlier,
but William Whewell asserted that it was not appropriate for a university to
teach a subject which had not yet reached its permanent form!)
Cavendish professors have been: J. C. Maxwell (1871-1879);
Lord Rayleigh (1879-1884); J. J. Thomson (1884-1919,
who was only 28 when nominated by Rayleigh(??) and elected by Kelvin, Stokes
& G. H. Darwin); Ernest Rutherford (1919-1937); W.
L. Bragg (1938-1953); N. Mott (1953-1971); Sam
Edwards (??). Maxwell investigated electrical standards here, assisted
by R. T. Glazebrook. William Garnett (1850-1932)
was assistant to Maxwell from 1873 and had hoped to succeed him. Glazebrook
was Assistant Director in 1891-1899, then he became the first director of the
National Physical Laboratory, and this work went there with him. Maxwell produced
his Treatise on electricity and magnetism (1873) and The
electrical researches of the Honourable Henry Cavendish (1879) while
here. Rutherford was a graduate student here, 1895-1898; he demonstrated wireless
telegraphy over half a mile in 1895, but Kelvin said it would never be of any
use except for communicating with lightships and advised him to concentrate
on atoms. Thomson 'discovered' the electron here in 1897. W. L. Bragg was a
student from 1911. Rutherford demonstrated artificial transmutation here in
1919: N14 + He4 <=> H1 + O17 and coined the word 'proton' in 1920.
Other notable workers here include: Appleton; Aston
(who developed the mass spectrometer here in 1913, producing the first separation
of isotopes in 1919 and soon began discovering a new isotope every week); Bernal;
Blackett; Bohr; Chadwick (who
discovered the neutron here in 1932); Chandrasekhar; Chrystal; Cockcroft;
J. A. Fleming; Fowler; Frisch; Glazebrook; Hartree; Kapitza (1921-1934);
Oppenheimer (c1925, discovering he wasn't an experimentalist);
Perutz; Ryle; Schuster (1876-1881); G. I. Taylor; Walton;
C. T. R. Wilson. The Laboratory has: the plates of Maxwell's first
colour photograph of 1861; zoetrope strips painted by Maxwell; Maxwell's diabolo
(which he was fond of playing with); J. J. Thomson's apparatus for 'discovering'
the electron; Wilson's original cloud chamber of 1911 which 'photographed' the
electron; Chadwick's 1932 neutron chamber. In 1929, Walter Gamow came and showed
that Schrodinger's equations explained how an alpha particle could escape from
a nucleus and how nuclei might be split. Cockcroft and Walton recognised the
possibilities and started building an appropriate accelerator to bombard lithium
with protons, hoping to see two alpha particles. On 13 Apr 1932, Walton was
testing the accelerator and unexpectedly saw alpha particles, which were rapidly
confirmed by Cockcroft and Rutherford. Crick and Watson discovered the structure
of DNA here in 1953 (Nobel Prize, 1962). The northern part of the Cavendish
site is the Rayleigh Wing. A new lecture theatre in the old
Cavendish site is named for Babbage. In the back (east side)
of the site, facing Corn Exchange Street, is the Computer Laboratory. I believe
EDSAC was built here, but I am not certain.
The Jacksonian Professorship of Natural Philosophy has been held by: Dewar
(1875-1923, though he was also at the Royal Institution from 1877); Otto
Five University Lectureships in Mathematics were created in 1882 and additional
ones sometimes existed. Many of the holders have been notable, so I give a list
of c1914 which I found in the Ball Albums at Trinity Library. J. J.
Thomson (1884); A. R. Forsyth (1884-1895); W.
H. Macaulay (1884-1898); R. T. Glazebrook (1884-1898);
E. H. Hobson (1884-1910); Joseph Larmor (1885-1903);
Pendlebury (1888-1901); H. F. Baker (1895-1914);
A. E. H. Love (1898-1899); H. M. Macdonald
(1899-1904); H. W. Richmond (1901-??); G. M. Matthews
(1903-1905); J. H. Jeans (1904-1906 & 1910-1912);
J. G. Leathem (1905-1909); R. A. Herman (1906-??);
Whittaker (1905-1906); A. E. L. Bromwich (1906-??);
J. H. Grace (1910-??); G. H. Hardy (1914-??);
A. Berry (1914-??). I have references to these, or one of them,
being known as the Cayley lectureships--The Cayley Lectureship has been held
by several notable mathematicians, including: H. F. Baker (1895-1914);
G. H. Hardy (1914-1920); J. E. Littlewood
The Rouse Ball Professorship was founded in 1928 by a bequest from Rouse Ball.
Occupants have been: J. E. Littlewood (1928-1950); Besicovitch
(1950-1958); Harold Davenport (1958-1969); J. G. Thompson
The Plummer Professorship of Mathematical Physics started in 1932 and has had
some holders of mathematical interest: Fowler (1932-1944);
Douglas Hartree (1946-????); Sam Edwards (1972-??).
Return to the top.
has long been the leading British college for mathematics. As one approaches
the Great Gate from Trinity Street, the lawn on the right (north) side was once
Isaac Newton's private garden and his chemical laboratory was
adjacent to the Chapel. His rooms were to the right of the Gate, on the first
(UK) (= second (US)) floor, adjacent to the Chapel, with two windows facing
out on the lawn. In 1954, an apple tree was planted there, propagated from the
tree at the Cambridge Botanic Garden, which is directly descended from the tree
at Woolsthorpe Manor, traditionally associated with Newton. At some stage, there
was a graft and the next cutting was taken from a different part of the tree,
so the Trinity tree is a different type of apple than the original!! As you
enter, you can buy a copy of Trevelyan's History and guide to the College
at the Porter's Lodge on the right. You then come into the Great Court, the
largest enclosed quadrangle in Europe, familiar from the film 'Chariots of Fire'
(which had to be filmed in a mock-up of the Court). Now go to the right to enter
the Antechapel, where the famous Roubiliac statue of Newton
And from my pillow, looking forth by light
Of moon or favouring stars, I could behold
The antechapel where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.
[William Wordsworth, Prelude, III, 58-63.
The statue of Newton was presented by Elizmar Smith, sister of the Master Robert
Smith and the only woman buried here. The plinth reads: Newton --qui genus
humanum ingenio superavit. Nearby is Isaac Barrow, Newton's
teacher and predecessor as Lucasian Professor. Though Barrow went on to bigger
things--he became Chaplain to the King, a bishop (?? - not mentioned in the
DNB) and then Master of Trinity College in 1672--he had no formal post after
There are also statues of Francis Bacon and William
Whewell. The first stained glass window to the left in the Chapel includes
Newton with his apple, Cotes with a telescope beside Newton, and Barrow below
Cotes. A tablet just to the left of the door to the Chapel records that this
window was donated by George Peacock, among others. Whewell is buried in the
Roger Cotes (1682-1716), editor of the second edition of the
Principia and first Plumian Professor till his early death, was buried in Trinity
Chapel whose reconstruction he had supervised. There is a monumental plaque
on the south wall of the Antechapel, but I (and others) have not been able to
find the actual burial site. Richard Bentley, the Master who
sponsored the second edition of the Principia, is also buried here.
There are numerous wall-plaques in the Antechapel including ones to:
J. Frank Adams; F. G. Aston (physicist); Rouse Ball; Besicovitch;
A. H. F. Boughey ("as skilled in mathematics as in the two classical
languages"); W. L. Bragg; Cayley; W. C. D. Dampier (historian
of science); G. H. Darwin; Davenport; Eddington; O. R. Frisch
(physicist); Glaisher; Hardy; Thomas Jones (1756-1807, an unknown
mathematician, but Tutor of Trinity); Kapitza; Littlewood; G. E. Moore
(the philosopher); Ramanujan; Russell; Rutherford; Martin Ryle
(Astronomer Royal); James Stuart (1843-1913, first Professor
of Mechanism and Applied Mathematics); G. I. Taylor; H. M. Taylor
(1842-1927, another Tutor of Trinity, a minor mathematician best remembered
for developing scientific Braille after his blindness and also Mayor of Cambridge);
J. J. Thomson; Whewell; Whitehead; Wittgenstein. A book of
all the Latin inscriptions, with English translations, was produced in 1990
by James Clackson and can be purchased here. Trevelyan's Guide to the
College mentions the following other notable Trinity men: Airy,
W. H.(??check - probably L.) Bragg, De Morgan, Galton, Jeans,
J. C. Maxwell, Rayleigh, Robert Smith (later a Master of Trinity and
founder of Smith's Prizes), Cuthbert Tunstall and John
Wilkins, but I didn't find memorials to them--certainly some had only
a brief connection with Trinity. Barnes, Clifford, Forsyth, Peacock,
Ramanujan, Fox Talbot and Whittaker were also at Trinity.
John Dee was an original Fellow.
Cotes's observatory was built over the Great Gate, but was demolished in 1797.
The bridge over the Cam in the grounds of Trinity has cycloidal arches. In Trinity
Antechapel, one can buy a very nice postcard of an 1815 watercolour of this
bridge. There is a plaque to Hardy in the Bowling Green, but this is in the
Fellows' Garden and is not accessible unless you are with a Fellow.
Trinity Library was designed by Wren, who was persuaded to
do it for free by Barrow in 1675. Supposedly Barrow was so annoyed at the University's
hesitancy about building a theatre or hall, that he announced that he was planning
a fine building for Trinity. After the meeting, he laid out the groundplan and
then he got Wren to produce designs--even for the furniture. It cost about 15.000.
Wren also added the balustraded terrace at the east side of the courtyard. One
of the statues on the Library roof represents Mathematics--the one on the north
end with a globe; another is Physics --probably that adjacent to Mathematics.
The Library contains many busts, including: Bacon, Barrow, Cotes, Newton (by
Roubiliac), and a portrait of Barrow. At the south end is a somewhat garish
stained glass window showing Fame (or Cantabrigia) presenting Newton to George
III, with Francis Bacon watching. Newton's private library is in the last alcove
on the west side and the libraries of Cotes and Robert Smith are also here.
In one of the exhibit cases are Newton's copy of the Principia, annotated for
the second edition, and his pocket account book from his student days. There
is a bust of J. J. Thomson on the staircase. Newton used the arcade from the
Library door to the Hall to measure the speed of sound.
See also the following under Individuals, below:
Airy, Atiyah, Babbage, Ball, W. L. Bragg, Clifford, De Morgan, Eddington, Galton,
Hardy, Littlewood, J. C. Maxwell, Newton, Rayleigh, Fox Talbot and Thomson.
Return to the top.
The Antechapel has plaques to William Henry Besant (1828-1917,
an 'ardent promoter of mathematical science'), Francis Puryer White
(a long serving Secretary and Editor of the London Mathematical Society), William
Gilbert (1540-1603, author of De Magnete), John
Ambrose Fleming (Honorary Fellow, inventor of the diode). About 1765,
an Observatory was built over the west gateway of the Second Court, paid for
by a Mr. Dunthorne, who also presented instruments. It remained until 1859.
William Ludlam published observations made here. In the far northwest of St.
John's College stands the 'School of Pythagoras', perhaps so called
because it was once the geometry lecture hall--other writers say the origin
of the name is unknown. Built as a private house about 1200, it is the oldest
house in the county (or city), but there is little original left. The old bridge
of 1696-1712 is sometimes called 'Wren's bridge', but his connection
seems to be distant--either an initial design was prepared in Wren's office
or it was based on suggestions made by Wren.
Wordsworth was a student at St. John's, and lived just to the north of Trinity
so he could see the Antechapel as he describes it in the poem quoted above.
His rooms, F2 of the First Court of St. John's, are no more--they were incorporated
into the kitchens in 1893--but there is a memorial window on Back Lane between
Trinity and St. John's. In St. John's, one can see the sign for Wordsworth's
The gate of the Old Schools has a number of statues, including
Henry Lucas (of the Lucasian chair) at the top right and Tunstall below him.
(This gate is a bit out of the way - it faces onto Trinity Lane and I only located
it in September 1991.)
St. John's is the second most mathematical college after Trinity, but does
not have a convenient history available. See the following under Individuals,
below: J. C. Adams, Baker, Billingsley, Briggs, Burnside, Cockcroft,
Colenso, Comrie, Dee, Dirac, Frost, Gilbert, Hartree, Herschel, Inman, Larmor,
Ludlam, Mordell, Parsons, Piaggio, Sylvester, Taylor, Wood.
Denerally just called 'Caius', which is pronounced as his English name Kees
or Keyes or Keys, but written in the Latinized form . It has had a number of
important mathematicians and physicists, mostly over the last century and a
half--see the following under Individuals, in the next Newsletter:
Briggs, Bromhead, Chadwick, Ferrars, Fisher, Green, Hawking, Murphy,
Needham, Venn, Wollaston, Woodhouse, Wright--and two Cavendish Professors:
Edwards and Mott. William Harvey
was also a student, graduating in 1597. It has recently installed very handsome
stained glass windows in the hall commemorating Chadwick, Fisher, Green, Venn
and other distinguished scientist members. The new booklet on the college shows
the Venn and Fisher windows, but the colours are a bit dark. Sir Sam
Edwards, Cavendish Professor, is the current President of the College
(as of 1993). Caius is buried in the Chapel.
a short history of the College has recently appeared which mentions the following:
Oughtred; Arthur Berry; H. W. Richmond; Percival Frost (author
of Curve Tracing); Karl Pearson; W. H. Macaulay (an
applied mathematician); W. E. Johnson (who became a logician);
Dillwyn Knox (who worked on cryptography in both wars, being
Turing's first supervisor even before the Second War broke out); Keynes;
Blackett; Frank Ramsey (of Ramsey Theory). See also
R. S. Ball, Philip Hall, Richardson & Turing
below. In 1689, King William's nomination of a liberal Provost was rejected
and then the King nominated Isaac Newton, who was also rejected. In the early
18C, King's consulted with Wren and his student Hawksmoor about buildings for
the present courtyard. Hawksmoor produced designs and two models for buildings
made at Wren's establishment, so presumably reflecting Wren's ideas. The buildings
were not built, but the models are still at King's.
The Old Court has an extraordinarily complex sun- and moon- dial, dating from
1642 and restored in 1733. Erasmus spent several years here
teaching Greek and living in the top of the turret in Cloister Court. The College
has a 1960 Erasmus Building. Beyond the Cloister Court is the 'Mathematical
Bridge'. It is often said to have been designed by Newton and to have
originally had no nails or bolts--the present ones being added after someone
had taken it apart the original to see how it was made and then being unable
to reconstruct it. Both stories are demonstrably false since the college has
the original 1748 model of the bridge, designed by W. Etheridge.
However a local booklet asserts the original bridge was assembled without nails
or bolts and the present bridge is a 1902 replacement. See: Cavendish,
E. A. Maxwell, Reynolds and Wallis under Individuals,below.
Return to the top.
Was created in 1964 in a converted warehouse at 16 Mill Lane, where it still
is. It has a few historical items. In the Head's office is the famous unique
portrait inscribed 'Robt. Recorde M.D. 1556'. However recent cleaning
caused the inscription to vanish and 'Aetat suae 63 Ao 1631' appeared
instead. Expert examination indicates that the painting is probably Flemish
and is consistent with the date 1631, so this is not a Recorde. (An article
wrongly asserts that this portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery
in London in the early 1920s.) The Department also has the 12 three dimensional
models of the sections of some four dimensional polytopes constructed by Alicia
Boole Stott (1860-1940), daughter of George Boole, presented by her nephew,
Sir G. I. Taylor. It also has H. T. Flather's "very beautiful
set of miniature models of all the fifty-nine [stellations of the icosahedron]".
These are in the glass cases adjacent to room G19, along with many other 19C
models, all sadly decaying. (The stellated icosahedra were not on display when
I visited in Sep 1991, but in 1992 I discovered they are now in the Department
Library.) The Department also has J. C. P. Miller's card models
of polyhedra, but these are in storage--some in the Department storeroom and
some in the Department Library Staff Room--and many of the labels have come
off. I have not located the wire models shown in the famous paper by Coxeter
et al. on uniform polyhedra. The Department Library is housed in the Mill Lane
Lecture Rooms and a bust of Ramanujan was placed there in 1986.
opened at 20 Clarkson Road in 1992. Michael Atiyah was the
creative force and first head. On 23 Jun 1993, Andrew Wiles described
his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, announcing his result at 10:30 am. In fact
it took a bit over a year for all the gaps and details to be filled in.
Is in the same block as DPMMS, but its entrance is in Silver Street. Its Dirac
Library has a bust of Dirac by Gabriella Bollobás.
Return to the top.
In Trumpington Road, to the South, has a 'Newton' apple tree, grown from a
cutting of the one at Kew. The tree at Trinity is taken from a cutting of this
tree. The one at Kew is believed to be grown from a cutting of the original
South end of Free School Lane, in part of the old Cavendish Laboratories. Its
several cases of mathematical instruments include a circular slide rule c. 1640
and an early vernier scale, an unlabelled fragment of Babbage's Difference Engine
and the 17C Florentine thermometer presented to Babbage by the Grand Duke of
Founded by Adam Sedgwick and John Stevens Henslow
in 1819. Babbage, John Herschel and Whewell
were original Fellows. The Society is considered to be an outgrowth of the Analytical
Society of 1812-1814?, formed by Babbage, Bromhead, J. Herschel,
Peacock et al. Its library has now become the Scientific Periodical
Library of the University. It has always had an especial interest in mathematics
and many mathematicians have been President: Peacock (1841-1843);
Whewell (1843-1845); Stokes (1859-1861);
J. C. Adams (1861-1863); Cayley (1869-1871); Maxwell
(1875-1877); Glaisher (1882-1889); G. H. Darwin
(1890-1892 & 1910-1912); Thomson (1894-1896);
Larmor (1898-1900); Baker (1902-1904); Hobson
(1906-1908); Lamb (1926-1928); Yule (1928-1930);
Hodge (1947-1949); G. I. Taylor (1967-1968).
Airy first described astigmatism and how to correct it, based on observations
and work on his own eyes, in an 1825 paper in the Proceedings.
The University Church. In 1793, Joseph Jowett and William Crotch composed quarter
hour chimes for the clock. These were later used for Big Ben and hence throughout
the world and are commonly, but inappropriately, known as the Westminster Chimes.
The bookshop at the corner of Trinity and Market Streets (now a branch of Heffer's?)
is the oldest continuous bookshop in England--books have been sold here since
Formerly St. Giles' (with St. Peter's) Cemetery, contains many notable mathematicians.
The entrance is on Huntingdon Road, along the roadway between numbers 145 &
147, currently only marked with a sign for 145A. One can obtain the very informative
leaflet by Slater from the custodian. With a little effort one can locate the
following graves, which often include wives and other relatives. J.
C. Adams (1819-1892); R. S. Ball; W. W. Rouse Ball; William
Henry Besant (Fellow of St. John's who wrote on mathematics); J.
D. Cockcroft (1897-1967); Horace Darwin (1851-1928--and
several other Darwins); A. S. Eddington; Horace Lamb
(1849-1934); John Bascombe Lock (1849-1921, Fellow of Gonville
& Caius who wrote on trigonometry); Alfred Marshall (1842-1924,
the pioneer economist, Fellow of St. John's, Professor of Economics (1885-1908));
E. A. Maxwell (1907-1987, not mentioned by Slater); G.
E. Moore (1873-1958, the philosopher, Fellow of Trinity); Arthur
Stanley Ramsey (1867-1954) and his son, Frank Plumpton Ramsey(1903-1930),
(the other son, Michael, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, is not here);
H. M. Taylor (described at Trinity Antechapel); Ludwig
Wittgenstein (1889-1951). Also A. C. Benson, author,
best known for his words to 'Land of Hope and Glory'.
Return to the top.
- John Couch Adams (1819-1892) entered St. John's as a student
in 1839, Senior Wrangler, and continued as a Fellow in 1843-1852, and later
a Fellow of Pembroke from 1853. Lowndean Professor, 1858-1892, and University
Observer, 1861-1892, living in the Observatory, where he died. The University's
Adams Prize was founded to commemorate him in 1847. He is buried in the Ascension
Burial Ground. St. John's has a bust and a portrait; Pembroke has a portrait.
- George Biddell Airy (1801-1892) was a student and a Fellow
of Trinity. He was Senior Wrangler in 1823. Lucasian Professor, 1826-1828.
As Plumian Professor (1828-1835), he headed the new Cambridge Observatory
so well that he was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1835. There is a portrait
in the Observatory.
- Apostles--The famous, even notorious, Cambridge student
group called The Apostles usually drew its membership from the
arts and literature, but literate scientists have often been members--e.g.
G.H. Hardy, J. M. Keynes, J. C. Maxwell, G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell,
A. N. Whitehead.
- Michael Atiyah (1929- ) was a student at Trinity, then
a Fellow of Pembroke and became Master of Trinity in 1990.
- Charles Babbage (1791-1871) entered Trinity in April 1810
as a bye-term student, hence practically in the same year as George Peacock
and John Herschel. There is a story that he was sure both Herschel and Peacock
would do better in the Tripos, so he migrated to Peterhouse in 1813 and entered
for a poll degree so as to be first at Peterhouse and first in his degree--but
more recent research shows this is incorrect: he was examined in a different
year to the others, he migrated in 1812, before he met Herschel, and he was
so disillusioned with the system that he is not even on the Honours list for
1814. He probably migrated because Peterhouse would give him more time to
pursue his own interests. In 1828, he was elected Lucasian professor, though
he hadn't applied for it. He resigned the chair in 1839, having never resided
nor lectured. A new lecture theatre has been named after him.
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was at Trinity which has a contemporary
portrait of him in the Hall.
- H. F. Baker (1866-1956) was born in Cambridge and was a
student and a fellow of St. John's. Senior wrangler 1887, Lowndean professor
1914-1939. His house at 3 Storey's Way was the site of the geometry seminar
known as 'Baker's tea party'.
- Robert Stawell Ball (1840-1913) was a Fellow of King's,
Lowndean Professor (1892-1914), Director of the Observatory. He is buried
in the Ascension Burial Ground.
- W. W. Rouse Ball (1850-1925) was a student of Trinity,
being second wrangler and first Smith's prizeman in 1874. Fellow, then a lecturer
at Trinity from 1878 to 1905, holding many administrative offices. He built
Elmside, at 20 (now 49) Grange Road, now a part of Clare Hall, across from
Robinson College. He died in the house and is buried in the Ascension Burial
Ground. He had a maze in his garden. Clare Hall has no memory of the maze--but
Coxeter has written me that it was not very permanent, being made of posts
- Ernest William Barnes (1874-1953) was a student at Trinity,
second wrangler in 1896, then a fellow at Trinity from 1898, when he was first
Smith's prizeman. He was Littlewood's supervisor. In 1917, he went into the
church, eventually becoming Bishop of Birmingham in 1924.
- Isaac Barrow (1630-1677) entered Peterhouse in 1643, but
then transferred to Trinity for 1644-48, where he became a fellow in 1649,
but was chased out of the country in 1655 (or travelled because he had not
become Professor of Greek). He returned in 1659 and was appointed professor
of Greek in 1660, then Gresham professor (in London) in 1662-1664 and first
Lucasian professor in 1664 until 1669. He was a chaplain to the king. Later
he was master of Trinity in 1672-1677--the king said "I am giving it to the
best scholar in England." In 1675, he decided to have a library added and
persuaded Wren to design it for free. He was vice-chancellor for a time from
1675. There is a bust and a portrait in the Wren Library--also his coat of
arms, carved by Grinling Gibbons.
- Francis Bashforth (1819-1912), inventor of the Bashforth
chronograph, was second wrangler in 1843. A fellow of St John's, he was professor
of applied mathematics at Woolwich 1864-1872.
- Harry Bateman (1882-1946) was a student at Trinity and
senior wrangler in 1903. From 1910 he lived in the USA, where from 1917 he
was professor of mathematics at what became CalTech.
- Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was a student at St. John's
to 1682. In 1692-1693, he delivered the first series of eight Boyle Lectures,
established by the will of Robert Boyle for proving the Christian Religion.
Bentley's topic was the confutation of atheism. In his last three lectures,
he gives the first popular exposition of Newton's system as an argument for
the existence of the Creator. Bentley corresponded with Newton on this question
and Newton wrote four letters, published in 1747. Bentley was master of Trinity
from 1699 and strongly promoted mathematics, building Cotes' observatory in
1706 and organizing the 2nd edition of Newton's Principia in
1713. Bentley apparently introduced written exam papers in 1702; Ball can
find no earlier examples in Europe. Bentley was not a popular character--although
responsible for much of the building at Trinity, he was twice voted out of
the mastership by the fellows, but managed to retain the post and die in office.
The fellows had some revenge by burying him under a plain slab in the Chapel.
- A. S. Besicovich (1891-1970), Rouse Ball professor 1950-1958,
came to Trinity in 1927, and remained to the end of his life.
- Henry Billingsley (d. 1606), first translator of Euclid
into English (1570), was a student at St. John's in 1551 and later donated
- P. M. S. Blackett (1897- 1974) was at Magdalene.
- Thomas Blundeville was a student, possibly non-collegiate,
c1545, and later wrote the first English book using trigonometry.
- Hermann Bondi was master of Churchill until 1990?
- William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) was a student at Trinity,
and third wrangler 1884 .
- William Lawrence Bragg (1890-1971) was a student at Trinity,
when he invented the Bragg equation, c1912. He shared the Nobel Prize with
his father W. H. Bragg in 1915.
- Bewick Bridge (1767-1833) entered St. Peter's College (??)
and was senior wrangler in 1790.
- Henry Briggs (1561-1630) was a student at St. John's in
1579-1581, a fellow and then examiner and lecturer in 1592-1596.
- Edward ffrench Bromhead (1789-1855) was a student at Caius
to 1812. He suggested the formation of the Analytic Society. He later sponsored
Green and befriended Boole.
- John Charles Burkill (1900-1993), was a student at Trinity,
fellow in 1922 and Smith's prizeman in 1923. After five years at Liverpool,
he returned to Peterhouse in 1929, eventually becoming university reader in
mathematical analysis, Adams prizeman in 1949 and master of Peterhouse in
1968-1973, when the college modified its age rules in order to elect him.
- William Burnside (1852-1927) was a student at St. John's
(1871-1873), then Pembroke (1873-1875), second wrangler and first Smith's
prizeman in 1875. He was a fellow of Pembroke to 1886. He declined the mastership
of Pembroke offered to him after Stokes's death in 1903.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- John Caius (1510-1573), the re-founder of Gonville and
Caius, was a student at Gonville Hall from 1529 and came in first on the Examination
list of 1522--so he was an early version of a senior wrangler. Fellow of Gonville
in 1533. After becoming a successful physician in London, he re-founded the
college in 1557 and became Master in 1559. He is buried in the Chapel of the
College. Shakespeare has a Doctor Caius in his Merry Wives of Windsor.
- George Shoobridge Carr (1837-??), author of A synopsis
of elementary results in pure and applied mathematics (1880 & 1886),
was a private tutor in London and decided to get further education. He entered
Caius in 1875, receiving his BA in 1880 and MA in 1883(?).
- Mary Lucy Cartwright (1900- ) was an Oxford graduate who
came to research at Girton in 1930, eventually becoming Mistress from 1949
to her retirement in 1969 (or 1968) as well as reader in the theory of functions,
- Henry Cavendish (1731-1810) was a student at Peterhouse
from 1749 to 1753, but as a fellow-commoner (i.e. of some noble status), he
did not take a degree. His measurement of the universal gravitational constant
G was based on an idea and device of John Michell, whom he
may have met while at Cambridge. This work is described under London and Thornhill.
Cavendish was a cousin of the Dukes of Devonshire, one of whom was Chancellor
of the University and later founded the Cavendish Laboratory in his memory.
J. Clerk Maxwell was the first Cavendish Professor and edited Cavendish's
- Arthur Cayley (1821-1895) was a student at Trinity, senior
wrangler in 1842. He lived at Garden House, now the Garden House Hotel, though
the part where he lived burnt down some years ago. The hotel has a Cayley
Suite. He is buried in Mill Road Cemetery. In 1912, members of the ICM placed
a wreath on the grave. C. G. Darwin commented: "This has touched the hearts
of our University" and arrangements were made for a permanent silver wreath.
I don't know if this was ever carried out. Tony Crilly reports that the grave
has been vandalised. Could the mathematics department put up a suitable monument??
- James Chadwick (1891-1974) worked at the Cavendish from
1920 to 1935 and was Master of Gonville & Caius, 1948-1958. Nobel prize
1935, for discovering the neutron. Caius has just installed a modern stained
glass window in the Hall commemorating him with a diagram of a nuclear reaction,
alongside the Green and Venn windows.
- James Challis (1803-1882) was a student at Trinity, senior
wrangler in 1825. Plumian Professor, 1836-1882. He is remembered for not following
up Adams' prediction of Neptune.
- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1911-1995) was a student and
then a fellow at Trinity in 1930-1937. He came to the Cavendish Laboratory,
hoping to work with Eddington, but worked with Dirac and Fowler until 1935.
It was on the long voyage to England that he worked out the behaviour of collapsing
stars. He developed his ideas at Cambridge, laying the foundations for red
giants, neutron stars, quasars and black holes. He presented the ideas at
a Royal Astronomical Society meeting in Jan 1935, but Eddington and others
were incredulous. It was 33 years before the discovery of pulsars and the
recognition that they were neutron stars verified his predictions, leading
to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. He returned to India in 1936 and then
went to Chicago.
- Grace Chisholm (1868-1944) was at Girton (equivalent to
a wrangler, 1892), where W. H. Young coached her for a term, but their attachment
occurred later; they married in 1896.
- George Chrystal (1851-1911) was a student at Peterhouse.
- Samuel Clarke (1675-1729) was the first to publicly defend
a Newtonian proposition, in 1694. He was a student at Caius to 1695. c1697,
he produced the first Newtonian textbook by annotating Rohault's Physics.
In 1706, he translated Newton's Opticks into Latin. On Newton's
death, he was offered the Mastership of the Mint, but declined.
- William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) was a student at Trinity
from 1863, second wrangler and then a fellow. However, he lost his faith and
left for a chair at University College London in 1871.
- John Douglas Cockcroft (1897-1967) was a student at St.
John's and later first Master of Churchill College from 1959.
- John William Colenso (1814-1883) entered St. John's as
a sizar in 1832, where he was assisted by scholarships and by the famous tutor
John Hymers. Second wrangler and cecond Smith's prizeman in 1836, fellow in
1837. In 1839, he went to teach at Harrow, then returned to St. John's as
a tutor in 1841, occupying A10, New Court. He was already a popular preacher.
He married c.1850 and went to Norfolk. He was appointed Bishop of Natal in
1853, but his Examinations of the Pentateuch were so radical
that he was deposed, c.1862. He was author of several popular mathematics
textbooks for schools, which can still be obtained second hand--I have three
- John Colson (1680-1760) was a schoolmaster when Robert
Smith invited him to Cambridge, where he stayed in Sidney Sussex. He then
entered Emmanuel, obtaining an MA in 1728. In 1736, he edited and published
Newton's original paper on fluxions. In 1739, he was elected to replace Sanderson
as Lucasian professor. De Moivre was the other candidate, but was aged and
Smith opted for Colson, who turned out to be a disappointment. Colson is perhaps
best known as the inventor, in 1726, of the number system which uses negative
and positive digits.
- Leslie John Comrie (1893-1950), the New Zealand-born pioneer
of computational science, was a graduate student at St. John's.
- Captain James Cook (1728-1779) "one of the most celebrated
navigators that this, or former ages can boast of" and his family are commemorated
by a tablet in St. Andrew the Great. One of his sons, Hugh, was a student
at Christ's College in 1782 when he died of scarlet fever at age 17 and was
buried in the previous church on the site. Mrs Cook and her only surviving
son, also James, came to the funeral. This James was drowned 35 days later
and buried in the same grave. Mrs Cook survived until 1835 and then was buried
- Roger Cotes (1682-1716) was a student at Trinity in 1699-1703
and a fellow from 1705. First Plumian professor in 1707. Got an observatory
built over the Great Gate, which was removed in 1797. Edited second edition
of Newton's Principia, 1713.
- Richard Courant was here for some time in the 1930s before
going to the US.
- John Craig was at Cambridge, c1680-1708, but seems to have
never taken a degree. He was an expositor of Newton's works as well as a competent
mathematician. He is perhaps most famous for his Mathematical principles
of christian theology, based on the axiom that the credibility of a
story diminishes as the square of the elapsed time.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- The Darwin family owned The Old Granary and Newnham Grange,
large Victorian houses facing the Mill Pond, west of the Silver Street bridge.
Sir George Darwin bought these in the 1880s. In 1965, these were combined
with another house to form Darwin College, the first college for graduate
- Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the naturalist and ancestor
of several eminent Cambridge scientists, was a student at Christ's College
in 1828-1831, living just above the doorway of G staircase, Front Court, St.
- His son Sir George Howard Darwin (1845-1912) was at Trinity
and was Plumian Professor (1883-1912). His daughter Gwen Raverat wrote a delightful
memoir of her upbringing called Period Piece.
- And his son Charles Galton Darwin (1887-1962)
was Master of Christ's College, 1936-1938. There is a monument to him in St.
- Charles Darwin's youngest son Horace Darwin (1851-1928)
was a Fellow of Trinity and founded the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company.
He lived at 'The Orchard', Huntingdon Road. He is buried in the Ascension
- Harold Davenport came to Trinity in 1927 for his second
BA, obtaining a wranglership and a distinction in 1929. Fellow of Trinity
in 1932-1937. Rouse Ball Professor 1958-1969. Bombieri worked
with him in part of 1963 and 1964, leading to his large sieve in 1965.
John Conway, Alan Baker and H. L. Montgomery
were students of Davenport's.
- Augustus De Morgan was a student at Trinity from 1823-1827,
graduating Fourth Wrangler.
- John Dee (1527-1608) was at St. John's as a student, then
a Fellow, in 1542-1546, being a foundation Fellow in 1546, and then was an
original Fellow of Trinity from 1546 to 1548. When he departed, he left Trinity
his instruments. A history of St. John's says Dee was assistant Greek reader
at St. John's but "is better known to posterity by his reform of the Julian
Calendar" - an assertion which seems odd since England refused to adopt the
Gregorian Calendar in 1582 and only adopted it in 1752.
- Thomas Digges was a student at Queens' in 1546-1551. He
studied under Dee and wrote the first English books using spherical trigonometry.
In 1571, he gave the first description of the telescope and theodolite invented
by his father, Leonard Digges, c1550 or 1570.
- P. A. M. Dirac came to Cambridge as a postgraduate in 1923.
He became a Fellow of St. John's in 1927 and lived in New Court A4, later
in Second Court C4. He was Lucasian Professor, 1932-1969. Nobel Prize in Physics
in 1933, shared with Heisenberg and Schrödinger. Chandrasekhar was a
student of his. In 1937, he married and moved to Cavendish Ave., where they
lived until his retirement. St. John's has two portraits and a bust. There
is a bust by Gabriella Bollobas in the Dirac Library of the DAM&TP.
- Freeman J. Dyson came to Cambridge in 1941.
- Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944) was a student at
Trinity, being Senior Wrangler in 1904, then a Fellow of Trinity in 1907 and
Smith's Prizeman in 1907. In 1913 he became Plumian Professor and in 1914,
Director of the Cambridge Observatory. In 1919, he led the expedition to Prncipe
which observed the solar eclipse of 29 May and confirmed Einstein's prediction
of the curvature of light. He is buried in the Ascension Burial Ground.
- Henry Fawcett (1833-1884) did well at mathematics at Trinity
Hall, becoming a fellow and studying political economy. He had been blinded
by a misdirected shot from his father's gun while a student. In 1867, he married
Millicent Garrett who became a noted campaigner for women's education and
suffrage. Their daughter is mentioned below. They lived at 18 Brookside. In
1871, Newnham College was planned here. Fawcett became Professor of Political
Economy. Liberal MP for Brighton and, in 1880, Postmaster General. There is
a memorial in Westminster Abbey, a plaque in Trinity Hall Chapel and a stained
glass window in Trumpington Church, where he is buried in the churchyard.
There is a Fawcett School in Trumpington.
- Hobson's pupil, Philippa Fawcett (1870-??), was the best
mathematical student in 1890, "above the Senior Wrangler", but was excluded
from the rankings because of her sex.
- Norman Mcleod Ferrars (1829-1903) was a student at Caius
from 1847, First Wrangler and First Smith's Prizeman in 1851, Fellow in 1852.
Returned as mathematical lecturer in 1856. Master of Caius from 1880, dying
in the Master's Lodge. There is a memorial tablet in the antechapel of the
college. He edited Green's works in 1871.
- R. A. Fisher (1890-1962) was a scholarship student (1909-1914),
Fellow (1920-1926& 1943-1962) and President (1956-1959) of Caius (portrait
in the Hall). c1911, he founded the Cambridge University Eugenics Society
and in 1911 he already exposited the basic ideasof his 1930 book The Genetical
Theory of Natural Selection to this Society. In 1912 hepublished his first
paper on maximum likelihood. He was Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics in
1943-1957. In 1945, he solved the problem of Rhesus blood types. Following
on suggestions from Anthony Edwards, Caius installed a handsome modern stained
glass window in the Hall to celebrate his centenary, showing the 7 by 7 Latin
square from the dust-jacket ofhis The Design of Experiments of 1935. Six of
the colours are those appearing in the Venndiagram just above (see Venn below).
- John Flamsteed (1646-1719) was at Jesus College from 1670
(or 1672) to 1674, when he received his MA.
- A. R. Forsyth(1858-1942) was a Fellow of Trinity from 1881
and Sadleirian Professor from 1895 until 1910 when he resigned due to having
an affair with a colleague's wife. In 1913, he went to Imperial College, London.
- Fox Talbot - see under Talbot, below.
- William Frend (1757-1841), author of Principles of Algebra
(1796), which deniedthe existence of negative numbers, and father-in-law of
De Morgan, was a student at Christ's College from 1775, Second Wrangler in
1780, ordained 1781. He was a Fellow and tutor of Jesus College from 1781
but was banned when he turned Unitarian in 1793 or because of his sympathy
for the French Revolution or because of his pamphlet Peace and Union. He wasn't
deprived of his fellowship, but only refused permission to reside. Another
source, quoting Frend's son-in-law De Morgan, says he was deprived of his
tutorship and his living in 1788 because of his pamphlet Address to the Inhabitants
of Cambridge of 1787 and other actions,that he was tried in 1792 for sedition
and opposition to the Liturgy and that he was banished, not expelled, so that
he retained his fellowship until his marriage and remained a member ofthe
University and the Senate. "That they would have expelled him if they could,
is perfectly true...."
- Otto Frisch was Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy
at the Cavendish in the 1960s.
- Percival Frost was at St. John's, then a Fellow at King's.
His book Curve Tracing is still interesting.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- Francis Galton was at Trinity for a year, c1844.
- William Garnett (1850-1932) entered St. John's in 1869,
Fifth Wrangler in 1873, demonstrator to Maxwell at the new Cavendish Lab in
1873-1879, Fellow of St. John's in 1873. He produced standard textbooks on
dynamics, heat, mechanics and trigonometry. In 1882, he co-authored a biography
- William Gilbert was at St. John's in 1558-1564, Fellow
in 1561, MD & senior Fellow in 1569.
- J. W. L. Glaisher (1848-1928) was a Fellow of Trinity.
He left his notable ceramic collection (over 3000 items) to the Fitzwilliam
Museum in Cambridge.
- George Green (1793-1841) entered Caius in 1833 at the age
of 40. He was Fourth Wrangler in 1837 and was a Fellow from 1839 until his
death in 1841. He lived on the North side of Gonville Court. He left Cambridge
in 1839, in poor health. Caius has recently installed a modern stained glass
window in the Hall commemorating him with a diagram of Green's theorem (sketched
by Paul Glendinning) - similar to the Fisher and Venn windows.
- Duncan Farquharson Gregory (1813-1844) entered Trinity
in 1833, 5th wrangler in 1837, Fellow in 1840, MA in 1841. He was the main
founder and first editor of the Cambridge Mathematical Journal.
- Thomas Gresham was at Gonville & Caius and there is
a statue of him on the facade. Cambridge had some hopes but was disappointed
when Gresham left his money to found Gresham College in London rather than
- J. B. S. Haldane (1892-1964) was Reader in Biochemistry,
- Marshall Hall Jr spent 1932-1933 at Trinity.
- Philip Hall was a student at King's, being a Wrangler in
1925. He was a Fellow at King's from 1927.
- Godfrey Harold Hardy (1877-1947) entered Trinity on a Major
Scholarship in 1896, took the Tripos after only two years and was Fourth Wrangler
in 1898, BA in 1899, then first in Part II of the Tripos and Fellow of Trinity
from 1900. Smith's Prizeman in 1901, MA 1903, Trinity Lecturer in 1905. In
his first year as a student, he lived in Whewell's Court, Staircase M, second
floor. When he was a Fellow, he first had rooms in Great Court, but later
on the second floor of Staircase A, New Court. His lecturing soon led to his
A Course of Pure Mathematics of 1908, the first rigorous exposition of analysis
in English. It was at his rooms in New Court in late Jan 1913 that he received
a letter from an Indian clerk named RAMANUJAN. He went to Oxford in Dec 1919,
returning as Sadleirian Professor in 1931 until his retirement in 1942. In
this later period he first lived in Whewell's Court, moving in 1933 to Great
Court, behind the Clock Tower. At the end of his life, the clock disturbed
him at night and the College arranged that it should not strike at night.
Hardy refused to enter the Chapel, not even for the election of the Master,
and special provision was made for him. See also Littlewood, below.
- D. R. Hartree(1897-1958) was at St. John's and the Cavendish
Laboratory, but later became a numerical analyst and Plummer Professor from
- John Harvard, eponym of the New World university, was a
student at Emmanuel from 1627. There is a tablet near the entrance or the
Chapel and a Harvard Room there.
- Stephen Hawking (1942- ) was a graduate student in Physics.
He is a Fellow of Caius (from 1965), which has a recent portrait of him in
- Thomas Little Heath (1861-1940) was a student at Trinity.
- John Herschel (1792-1871) entered St. John's in 1809 and
was Senior Wrangler and First Smith's Prizeman in 1813 (Peacock was second
in both), Fellow in 1813. As a Fellow, his rooms were K3 of the Great Court.
The college has a portrait and a bust. He left Cambridge about 1816.
- E. W. Hobson (1856-1933) was a student, Senior Wrangler
and Fellow of Christ's College. There is a portrait in their Combination Room.
He tutored Philippa Fawcett and J. M. Keynes.
- W. V. D. Hodge was at Pembroke.
- Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin did her PhD here under J.
D. Bernal. They carried out the basic experiments that showed that
x-ray crystallography of proteins was possible.
- Thomas Hood was a student at Trinity in 1573-1578, then
a Fellow. He wrote several texts and was first Thomas Smith lecturer in London.
- Jeremiah Horrocks(1619-1641) was a student at Emmanuel
- Fred Hoyle (1915- ) was a student at Cambridge, with Dirac
as his thesis supervisor. Coined the term 'Big Bang' in 1950. In the early
1960s, he established the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy and served as
the first Director. Knighted, 1972. Resigned due to administrative hassles
with the University in 1972. In 1992, the Institute erected a statue of him.
- John Hymers entered St. John's as a sizar in 1822, Second
Wrangler in 1826, Fellow in 1827, tutor in 1832. A successful private tutor
whose pupils included J. J. Sylvester, William Cavendish (later Duke of Devonshire,
Chancellor of the University and founder of the Cavendish Laboratory) and
J. W. Colenso (see above). He also wrote books including: Treatise on
the Analytical Geometry of Three Dimensions, 1830; Treatise on
Conic Sections, 1837; Theory of Plane Curves, 1837; Integral
Calculus, including perhaps the first English discussion of elliptic
functions. Left Cambridge in 1852.
- James Inman entered St. John's in 1796, Senior Wrangler
and First Smith's Prizeman, Fellow in 1805. Then was professor at the Royal
Naval College, Portsmouth. Wrote Navigation and Nautical Astronomy for the
use of British Seamen.
- James Hopwood Jeans entered Trinity in 1896, joint Second
Wrangler in 1898, Fellow of Trinity in 1901, University Lecturer in 1904-1906
and Stokes Lecturer in 1910-1912. Adams Prize, 1917.
- Philip Edward Bertrand Jourdain (1880?-1919) was a student
at Cambridge from 1898.
- Kelvin- see Thomson, below.
- John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was born at the family
house at 6 Harvey Road. His parents remained there for the rest of their lives
and Keynes visited them often.
- John Kirkby was a student at St. John's from 1723, then
a Fellow. He wrote Arithmetical Institutions and translated Barrow's lectures
as The Usefulness of Mathematical Learning Explained in 1734.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- Horace Lamb (1849-1934) was a student and Fellow of Trinity
and Rayleigh Lecturer to 1875. When he retired from Manchester in 1920, he
came to live in Cambridge and was made an Honorary Fellow of Trinity and Honorary
Rayleigh Lecturer. He lived at 6 Selwyn Gardens. He is buried in the Ascension
- Joseph Larmor (1857-1942) was a student of St. John's in
1877-1880, being Senior Wrangler with J. J. Thomson being second. He was a
Fellow of St. John's, but spent 1880-1885 at Galway. He succeeded Stokes as
Lucasian Professor in 1903-1932. He was MP for the University, 1911-1922.
- John Edensor Littlewood (1885-1977) entered Trinity in
1902, was Senior Wrangler in 1905 and then did research under Barnes. Did
not get an immediate Fellowship, so went to Manchester. Fellow of Trinity
from 1910. Lived in Staircase D, Nevile's Court, Trinity College, 1913-1977.
It was here that Hardy and Littlewood read Ramanujan's letter one evening
in January 1913. By midnight they were convinced that it was the work of a
genius--in Hardy's words: "They must be true because, if they were not true,
no one would have the imagination to invent them." (C. P. Snow thought the
meeting was in Hardy's rooms, but other colleagues of the era think Littlewood's
rooms was their usual meeting place. Bollobas notes that this meeting might
have taken rather more than one evening, but been reduced to one in later
telling.) (It is now known that Ramanujan had written in 1912 to Baker and
Hobson, who had ignored the letters --perhaps reasonably as neither knew anything
about the fields of Ramanujan work.) A bust of Littlewood by Gabriella Bollobás
is in the Combination Room.
- Roger Long (1680-1770) was a Fellow and then Master of
Pembroke in 1733-1770. He was the first Lowndean Professor from 1749 to 1770.
In 1765 or 1753 he erected a zodiack, i.e. a large sphere which could hold
several (thirty) people and show the constellations, considered the first
planetarium. It stood in the grounds of Pembroke until 1871.
- Henry Lucas, founder of the Lucasian Chairs, had been a
student at St. John's.
- William Ludlam (1716?-1788) was a student at St. John's
from 1734, BA 1738, MA 1742, Fellow 1744, BD 1749. He was a candidate for
the Lucasian chair in 1760, but was defeated by Waring. He published Astronomical
Observations made in St. John's College, Cambridge, in the years 1767 and
1768 and Rudiments of Mathematics, a standard university text until the early
19C, though it had reservations about negative numbers.
- P. A. MacMahon was at 31 Hertford St. on 22 Oct 1923.
- Prasantha Chandra Mahalanobis came to England in 1913 to
study in London, but was so impressed by King's College Chapel that a friend
suggested he come to King's and next day he was admitted!
- Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1824) was a student at Jesus
College in 1784-1788. He was 9th Wrangler.
- Francis Maseres (1731-1824) entered Clare College in 1748,
Fourth Wrangler and first Chancellor's medallist in 1752, MA & Fellow
of Clare 1755. He was one of those who objected to the use of negative numbers.
He was a candidate for the Lucasian Chair in 1760, losing to Waring, and then
devoted himself to the bar, becoming Attorney-General of Canada and a Cursitor-Baron
of the Exchequer.
- Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811) was Seventh Wrangler in 1754,
then a Fellow of Trinity. In 1765, he became Astronomer Royal.
- William Henry Maule (1788-1858) was Senior Wrangler in
1810 and first Smith's Prizeman. I recall he was a supporter or founder of
The Analytical Society. He was a fellow of Trinity and a mathematical coach
while studying for the bar and then went into the law, becoming a judge and
- Edwin Arthur Maxwell (1907-1987) was a student, then a
Fellow of Queens' College. He is buried in the Ascension Burial Ground.
- James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was a student at Peterhouse
for two (or one?) terms in 1850-1851, then a student of Trinity, being Second
Wrangler in 1854 (Routh was first) and sharing the Smith's Prize with Routh
(Stokes set the paper for the Prize and included the first statement of Stokes'
Theorem!). Fellow of Trinity in 1855. Adams Prizeman in 1857 for his 'On the
stability of motion of Saturn's rings' which demonstrated that the rings could
not be solid nor a fluid, so they had to consist of separate pieces. He was
the first Cavendish Professor in 1871-1879--see above for some memorabilia.
He died in Cambridge. John Fauvel tells me there is a copy of the 'celebrated
portrait of ... Maxwell as an infant' in Prof. Callandine's rooms in Peterhouse,
but that no one seems to know if the original still exists.
- John Michell was at Queens'; 4th wrangler in 1748; Fellow;
Praelector Arithmeticus in 1751; MA in 1752; Praelector Geometricus in 1753;
BD in 1761, numerous other offices (senior bursar) and lectureships (Hebrew,
Greek, theology). Wrote on magnetism, earthquakes, etc. Woodwardian Professor
of Geology, 1762-1764, then left for "the superior charms of a wife and a
living", the living being at Thornhill from 1767. In 1764-1767, he was one
of the committee to examine Harrison's chronometer and wrote on Hadley's quadrant
and on measuring longitude. He also made the first estimates of the distance
of stars--which were pretty close to the first measurements made by Bessel
and others about 70 years later. He introduced probabilistic reasoning for
studying the distribution of stars, and stated that 'double' stars were genuinely
paired and rotating about one another--as verified by W. Herschel some 20
years later. See also Cavendish above.
- Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) studied mathematics at
Trinity, but disappointed his tutor by become editor of Granta and only getting
a third. He later became a writer. He may have been related to E. A. Milne
- Isaac Milner (1751-1820) was Senior Wrangler in 1774 and
Waring's successor as Lucasian Professor in 1798, when he was already professor
of natural philosophy, Master of Queens' College and Dean of Carlisle. He
seems to have never lectured or examined.
- Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754) was a candidate for the Lucasian
chair in 1739 and was admitted a member of Trinity and created MA to qualify
him, but he was already 72 and Colson was elected instead.
- L. J. Mordell was at St. John's from 1907, Third Wrangler
in 1909, second Smith's Prizeman for a paper on y2 = x3 + k. He remained in
Cambridge until 1913, but failed to get a fellowship at St. John's. Sadleirian
Professor and Fellow of St. John's in 1945-1953. He lived in a flat in Belvoir
Terrace and then in a house in Bulstrode Gardens.
- Samuel Morland was at Magdalene for ten years but did not
take a degree. He invented the speaking tube and an early one is in Trinity
Library. He seems to have been the first to propose using the barometer to
predict the weather, though Boyle is often credited with this.
- Frank Morley was a student at King's, but overwork(?) led
to his withdrawal for a year and his final rank was not as good as expected
and he did not get a fellowship.
- Robert Murphy (1806-1843) was a student at Caius in 1825-1829,
graduating Third Wrangler, and then a Fellow of his college.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- Joseph Needham (1900-1995) was a student of medicine at
Caius, then a Fellow from 1924. He was Haldane's successor as Reader in Biochemistry
in 1932. After the War, he was a founder of UNESCO. The first volume of the
monumental Science and Civilization in China appeared in 1954.
He was Master from 1966. He was a President of Caius--unlabelled portrait
in the Hall, dressed in a blue Chinese robe. In the 1970s, a Needham Research
Institute was established behind Robinson College.
- Eric Harold Neville (1889-1961) was a student at Trinity;
took the Tripos a year early in 1909 in order to be in the last of the old-style
Triposes, coming in Second; Smith's Prize, 1911; Fellow of Trinity, 1912.
In Jan 1914, he lectured in Madras, acting as Hardy's agent in arranging for
Ramanujan to come to England. Ramanujan stayed at the Nevilles' house in 113
Chestertown Road for six weeks on his arrival in Cambridge in April 1914.
Neville lost his Fellowship in 1917, possibly because of his pacifist views.
- Isaac Newton (1642-1727) came to Trinity as a student in
1661 and remained until 1696. He bought his prism at Stourbridge Fair, which
was held on Stourbridge Common, about one and a half miles east of the city
centre. (At the time, this was the biggest fair in England, but it ended in
1855. It had been one of the three biggest fairs in Europe, and another author
says it was still one of the largest in England in 1889.) As one enters Trinity,
the lawn on the right (north) side of the Great Gate was once Newton's private
garden and his chemical laboratory was adjacent to the Chapel. See the description
of the entrance to Trinity College above for Newton's apple trees. His rooms
were in Staircase E, Number E4(?), on the first floor (UK) (= second floor
(US)) to the north of the Great Gate, just adjacent to the Chapel, with two
windows facing the outside and two and one-half windows closest to the Chapel
on the inside. The rooms are not open to the public. The College seems to
believe his rooms were adjacent to or over the Gate, but D. T. Whiteside says
this is erroneous. We do not know just when he lived here, but he was here
in 1687 when he wrote the Principia. Hamilton was lodged here
for a British Association meeting and Russell lived here in 1944. Newton was
knighted by Queen Anne in the drawing-room of the Master's Lodge on 16 April
1705. It is sometimes said that Newton was the first person knighted for his
science, but others assert it was for his work at the Mint. There is a 1710
portrait of Newton in the Master's Lodge, along with a grandfather clock presented
by him in 1708. Newton's private library and other memorabilia are in Trinity
Library. In 1689, King William nominated Newton to be Provost of King's, but
this was soon dropped as inappropriate.
- William Oughtred (1574-1660) was an undergraduate from
1592, BA 1596, MA 1596, and a Fellow of King's until he became vicar of Albury,
Surrey, in 1618 or 1610.
- William Paley (1743-1805) was at Christ's College from
1760, being Senior Wrangler in 1763. However, he went into theology--his View
of the Evidences of Christianity of 1794 was a Cambridge text book
well into the 20C. Christ's has a portrait in their Hall.
- Charles Algernon Parsons (1854-1931), inventor of the steam
turbine, entered St. John's in 1873 and was 11th Wrangler in 1876.
- George Peacock (1791-1858) entered Trinity in 1809 and
was Second Wrangler and Second Smith's Prizeman in 1813 (Herschel was first
in both), Fellow in 1814, lecturer in 1815, MA 1816, ordained 1822, Tutor
in 1823-1839. He helped establish the University Observatory. Elected Lowndean
Professor in 1836, defeating Whewell. Dean of Ely from 1839, residing there
until his death and apparently not lecturing at Cambridge.
- Karl Pearson (1857-1936) was a student and a Fellow at
- John Pell (1610-1685) was a student at Trinity at age 13,
obtaining his MA in 1630. He continued as a lecturer, eventually going to
Amsterdam as Professor.
- Samuel Pepys (1632-1703) was at Magdalene College in 1651-1654,
BA in 1653 and MA by proxy in 1660. He retained friendly contact with the
College throughout his life and frequently returned to Cambridge. He declined
the post of Provost of King's in 1681. He left Magdalene his library of 3000
books, including the MSS of his Diary of 1660-1669, finally deciphered in
1819-1825. He also left money to help build the Second Court, one side of
which is the Pepys Building with the inscription Biblioteca Pepysiana, containing
his library in the oak bookcases that he had had made, including the first
known glass-fronted ones which he began acquiring on 17 Aug 1666. The library
is open to visitors, 14:30-15:30 on weekdays in term. There is a portrait
of Pepys in the Gallery.
- Piaggio (1884-1962) was a student at St. John's.
- W. T. Pye began making scientific instruments and radios
in 1911 in a workshop beside the river at Laundress Lane. This grew into the
Pye Electronics firm.
- Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) stayed at the Nevilles',
113 Chestertown Road, when he arrived in Cambridge in Apr 1914, for about
6 weeks, before moving in early June into Trinity on the ground floor of Staircase
P of Whewell's Court. It was here that Mahalanobis found that Ramanujan was
cold because he didn't know how to use the blankets tucked onto the bed. In
Oct 1915, he moved to the 2nd floor, Staircase D of Bishop's Hostel. In Mar
1916, he was awarded a BA by research. In March 1917, he was ill and went
into a Nursing Hostel in Thompson's Lane, demolished in 1981. In Oct, he began
the long series of stays in other nursing homes--his illness has generally
been thought to be tuberculosis and/or stomach ulcer, but a recent theory
is that it was amoebic dysentery--a disease which could easily have been cured
even then. The University conferred the degree of BA by Research on Ramanujan
in March 1918. In Oct 1918, he was elected a Fellow of Trinity (a year after
becoming FRS). A bust of Ramanujan was placed in the Department Library in
the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms in 1986.
- Arthur Stanley Ramsey (1867-1954), the applied mathematician,
was President of Magdalene College. The family lived in Buckingham Road. He
is buried in the Ascension Burial Ground. His son Frank Plumpton Ramsey
(1903-1930), the eponym of Ramsey Theory, is also buried in the Ascension
- Robert A. Rankin was at Clare College.
- Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919) was a student at Trinity from
1861, Senior Wrangler, Smith's Prizeman in 1865, later a Fellow, and later
Chancellor of the University from 1908. O.M. 1902 and Nobel prize 1904. There
is a portrait in the Examination Hall.
- Robert Record (c1510-1558) migrated to Cambridge from Oxford,
c.1535, and taught mathematics and medicine until c.1545 when he received
the MD and returned to Oxford.
- Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912) was a student at Queens' in
1863-1867 and then a Fellow of Queens'.
- Lewis Fry Richardson (1881-1953) was a student of Natural
Sciences at King's from 1900, getting a First Class degree in 1903. His first
major piece of mathematical research was at the National Peat Industry Ltd.
in 1906-1907, where he developed his pioneering numerical methods in trying
to solve practical water percolation problems. This was so novel that it took
some time to get published and when it was submitted for a King's Fellowship
competition, it was rejected.
- Laurence Rooke (1623-1662) was a student at King's to 1643
and then lectured on Oughtred to c1650.
- Edward James Routh (1831-1907) was a student at Peterhouse,
Senior Wrangler in 1854 (Maxwell was second) and joint first Smith's Prizeman
with Maxwell in 1854. Notable coach for many years, who coached no less than
twenty-seven senior wranglers.
- Samuel Birley Rowbotham (Parallax) made observations
in 1838 along the Bedford Level--one of the great drainage channels through
the Cambridgeshire fens--which he claimed to show the earth was flat, leading
to the formation of the 'Flat Earth Society' which survived until the 1980s!
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a student at Trinity in
1890-1894, where he studied with Whitehead, joint 7th Wrangler in 1893, Fellow
of Trinity in 1895. In 1890, he lodged in Whewell's Court. In 1902, he stayed
with Whitehead (qv) in Grantchester while they finished the Principia
Mathematica. In 1910-1911, he was living in I Building (Staircase??),
Nevile's Court. He was later fired on 11 Jul 1916 due to his pacificism in
World War I. He returned as a lecturer in 1944 and lived in Newton's rooms.
- Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), who succeeded J J Thomson
as Cavendish professor in 1919, lived at Newnham Cottage, Queen's Road from
1919 to his death in 1937, caused by falling from a tree he was pruning in
the garden. There are several portraits in Cambridge.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- Nicholas Sanderson (or Saunderson) (1682-1739) came to
teach at Christ's College. When Whiston was expelled, Queen Anne conferred
an MA on Sanderson so he could succeed as Fourth Lucasian Professor in 1711.
- Arthur Schuster (1851-1934) was at the Cavendish in 1876-1881.
- Robert Smith (1689-1768), a cousin of Cotes, was a student
at Trinity in 1707-1711 and a Fellow from 1712. He succeeded Cotes as Plumian
Professor. Master of Mechanics to the King. (William Herschel gave a concert
at Bath on Smith's 'changeable harpsichord'.) Edited Cotes's works and wrote
several excellent text books (Ball suggests one could usefully be reprinted)
and the best 18C work on optics. Master of Trinity from 1742. His will founded
two annual prizes--the Smith's Prizes--in mathematics and natural philosophy
which have become the premier prizes in the subject.
- Fabian Stedman, the inventor of the mathematical, but singularly
unmusical, English pastime of change-ringing, was parish clerk of St. Bene't,
Bene't Street, c1650. He seems to be the first person to recognise the parity
of permutations. The first organized peal was probably rung from the tower.
- George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) was a student at Pembroke,
Senior Wrangler in 1841. Then Fellow from 1849, President and Master of Pembroke,
1902-1903. Lucasian Professor, 1849-1903. Conservative MP for Cambridge University
1887-92. In 1854, Stokes set the paper for the Smith's Prize and included
the first statement of Stokes' Theorem. He is buried in Mill Road Cemetery.
Portrait in the Hall of Pembroke; bust somewhere in Pembroke; bust in the
Fitzwilliam Museum. Pembroke Chapel east window was presented by his daughter
and designed by her brother-in-law. The lower left of the centre window is
a memorial to Stokes which is hard to see as it is obscured by the altar.
The lower part of the left window shows the combination of Stokes and Pembroke
arms while the lower part of the right window shows the Stokes arms. I have
seen a letter of 10 Jul 1889 from him at Lensfield Cottage, possibly part
- James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897) was a student at St.
John's, Second Wrangler in 1837. But he could not be awarded a degree because
he could not subscribe to the articles of faith. Trinity College Dublin awarded
him an MA. After the removal of the religious bar in 1871, he was awarded
English degrees honoris causa. Sylvester was made an honorary
fellow of St. John's in 1880; the college has a portrait, and twelve boxes
of Sylvester's letters and papers are in the college library.
- Peter Guthrie Tait (1831-1901) was Senior Wrangler and
First Smith's Prizeman in1852.
- William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) was at Trinity. He
was 12th Wrangler and second Chancellor's Medallist in 1821.
- Brook Taylor (1685-1731) was at St. John's 1701-1709.
He removed to London about then. He is described as a student of Newton's,
though follower is probably a better term as Newton had moved to London in
- Geoffrey Ingram Taylor (1886-1975) was a student at Trinity
from 1905. His Smith's Prize paper was the first convincing demonstration
of the phenomenon of shock waves. He worked at the Cavendish Lab.
- Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940) was a student, Fellow and
then Master of Trinity from 1918. He was Second Wrangler to Larmor in 1880,
and succeeeded Lord Rayleigh as Cavendish professor in 1884. Seven of his
research assistants won the Nobel prize.
- William Thomson (1824-1907)--later Lord Kelvin--entered
Peterhouse in 1841. He was Second Wrangler and First Smith's Prizeman in 1845,
then junior mathematics lecturer and Fellow at Peterhouse in 1845-46. In 1845,
just after his degree and on his way to Paris, his tutor gave him three copies
of Green's 1828 Essay, which Thomson had been unable to find. He was thrilled
by it, as were Liouville and Sturm, and it was republished in J. reine
angew. Math. in 1850-1854. Thus were the ideas of potential, Green's
theorem and Green's functions brought to light.
- Isaac Todhunter (1820-1884) was at St. John's, Senior Wrangler
in 1848, later a Fellow.
- John Toplis (1786-1858) was a Fellow of Queens'. He was
an enthusiast for the new continental calculus--he translated the first book
of Laplace's Mécanique Céleste and published it
himself in 1814, in Nottingham where he was head of the Free Grammar School
in 1806-1819. It seems likely that he was Green's mentor. He returned to Queens'
- Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559) (or Tonstall) migrated from
Oxford to King's Hall (one of the predecessors of Trinity College), c. 1495.
A presentation copy of his De Arte Supputandi, the first arithmetic
book produced in Britain, is in the University Library.
- Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a student at King's, 1931-1934,
and a Fellow intermittently from 1935 (or 1934) to 1952. He said the idea
of a 'Turing machine' occurred while lying (or running??) in the meadow at
Grantchester, just south of Cambridge along the river, in the summer of 1935.
- John Venn (1834-1923) entered Caius in 1853. President
of Gonville & Caius, in 1903-1923, which has a portrait of him--I recently
found it was in Anthony Edwards' rooms. Venn lived at 1 Chaucer Road, Trumpington,
just south of Cambridge, and is buried in the extension of Trumpington churchyard.
The Venn arms are in the stained class in the large window at the SE corner
of the Hall. On the suggestion of Anthony Edwards, Caius has just installed
a handsome modern stained glass window in the hall showing the standard Venn
diagram in three bright colours. Venn was one of the compilers of Alumni
- John von Neumann (1903-1957) spent the last term of 1935
here and met Turing.
Return to the top.
Cambridge Individuals, continued
- John Wallis (1616-1703) was a student at Emmanuel in 1632-1636,
where one of his theses was on the circulation of the blood--the first public
disputation of the topic. He was a Fellow of Queens' and MA in 1640 before
going to Oxford.
- Seth Ward (1617-1689) was a student at Sidney Sussex to
1637 and then a Fellow. He revived mathematical teaching by lecturing on Oughtred.
He was expelled by Parliament. During the Commonwealth, his father Samuel
Ward, Master of Sidney Sussex, was imprisoned by Cromwell's forces in St.
John's and the son attended him.
- Edward Waring (1736-1798) was a student of Magdalene, being
Senior Wrangler in 1757. He then was a Fellow of Magdalene. In 1760, he was
elected to succeed Colson as Lucasian Professor, though he was not yet eligible
for the MA. The main rival candidate was Maseres, but William Ludlam was also
considered. Waring produced the first chapter of his Miscellanea Analytica
in support of his candidacy and this led to an exchange of criticisms in which
Waring was vindicated. He announced Wilson's Theorem, due to his pupil John
Wilson (qv ), c.1760.
- G. N. Watson (1886-1965) was at Trinity as student and
Fellow, 1904-1914. He was Senior Wrangler in 1907.
- William Whewell (1794-1866) was a student at Trinity,
Second Wrangler and Second Smith's Prizeman in 1816, Fellow of Trinity, then
Tutor from 1823-1839 and Master from 1841 to 1866. His Philosophy of
the Inductive Sciences, 1847, was one of the first studies of the philosophy
of science, but it asserted that it was not appropriate to teach ideas until
they had been thoroughly assimilated into the science. Consequently Cambridge
did not appoint a Professor of Physics until 1874.
- William Whiston (1667-1752) was a student at Clare in 1685-1690,
attending Newton's lectures. Fellow of Clare in 1690. Deputised for Newton
when Newton became Master of the Mint in 1699, and succeeded Newton as (Third)
Lucasian Professor in 1703??. His edition of Euclid was standard for half
a century. Published Newton's Universal Arithmetic in 1707. He
and Bentley encouraged the publication of other works of Newton. Expelled
in 1711 for heretical views--or rather because he began to make personal attacks
on those who disagreed with him. Best known for his translation of Josephus'
- Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) came to Trinity in 1880,
Third Wrangler in 1883, Fellow of Trinity, 1884 until 1910 when he resigned.
The Whiteheads lived at Mill House, Grantchester by the mill pool (Byron's
Pool) in 1898-1906. It was here that Russell and his wife stayed in 1902 while
Principia Mathematica was completed.
- Edmund Taylor Whittaker (1873-1956) was a Fellow of Trinity
and University Lecturer in 1905-1906.
- Andrew Wiles (1953- ) was born in Cambridge and attended
the Lees School there. After studying at Oxford, he returned to do his PhD
in Cambridge, under the supervision of John Coates. Though offered a fellowship
by Clare, he went to Harvard. He has been at Princeton since the early 1980s,
but he returned to present his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem at a conference
at the Isaac Newton Research Institute on 23 Jun 1993, a bit after 10:30 am.
In fact it then took over a year for all the gaps and details to be filled
- John Wilkins (1614-1672) was Master of Trinity from 1659.
- William Wilkins (1778-1839), was a student of mathematics
at Caius and was elected to a fellowship, but after a Grand Tour, he turned
to architecture and was responsible for many notable works in Cambridge and
London, but is not remembered as much as he should be. He worked first in
the classical Grecian style, then in the Gothic revival style for about ten
years before reverting to the Grecian. He designed University College London,
St. George's Hospital and the National Gallery in London, the west side of
Corpus Christi (including the New Court and Library) in 1823-1827, the east
and south sides of King's in 1823 (including the Hall), the initial parts
of Downing College in 1806, the bridge at King's, the New Court (or King's
Court) at Trinity in 1823-1825 and his own house at the corner of Lensfield
Road and Panton Street. He is buried in the Chapel of Corpus Christi.
- J. H. Wilkinson was a student at Trinity, graduating at
- John Wilson (1741-1793), of Wilson's Theorem--which he
discovered as a student of Waring, but couldn't prove--was a student at Peterhouse,
being Senior Wrangler in 1761. He was a coach, i.e. a private tutor for those
wanting to do well in the Tripos examinations.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) succeeded G. E. Moore as
Professor of Philosophy from 1939-1948. He lodged in 'Stratherd', now part
of Lucy Cavendish College, on Lady Margaret Road. During his final illness,
he was nursed by Mrs. Bevan at her house in Storey's Way, where he died. He
is buried in the Ascension Burial Ground.
- William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) was at Caius; his arms
are in a window in the Hall.
- Joseph Wolstenholme (1829-1891) was at Christ's College.
- James Wood (1759?-1839) entered St. John's as a sizar and
Kay exhibitioner in 1778, reportedly so poor that he was often found reading
by the staircase lamp--in the turret of the SE corner of the second court.
Although he received scholarships, he seems not have to have left the college
until 1782, when he went home to announce he was Senior Wrangler, First Smith's
Prizeman and a Fellow. Soon a tutor. Master of St. John's, 1815-1839, dying
in the Lodge and interred in the Chapel; Vice-Chancellor, 1816; Dean of Ely,
1820. Wrote Elements of Algebra, 1795, which reached a 16th edn.
in 1861, and The Principles of Mechanics, 1796, which reached
at least 8 editions. Statue in the Antechapel, portraits in the Lodge and
- Robert Woodhouse (1773-1827) was a student at Caius from
1790, BA, SeniorWrangler and First Smith's Prizeman in 1795, MA in 1798, then
a Fellow from 1798 until his marriage in 1823. His Principles of Analytical
Calculation, 1803, was the first English text to explain the differential
notation of Leibniz, but it was not as clear as the later works of the Analytical
Society (Bromhead, Herschel, Peacock, Babbage, etc.) which it inspired. Lucasian
Professor in 1820-1822, then Plumian Professor and first Superintendent of
the Observatory in1822-1827. In 1901, there was a monument to him in the Chapel.
- Christopher Wren (1632-1723) has left a number of works
in Cambridge: Pembroke Chapel (his first or second work, started and completed
while he was working on the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford), Trinity College
Library (1676- ) and Emmanuel Chapel with its adjacent Long Gallery. The 'Wren
Bridge' at St. John's is not by him, though the initial design is claimed
to come from his office. Another source implies the bridge, or at least its
ornamentation, was designed by Wren, but that he advised that it be located
where the present 'Bridge of Sighs' is and that the Cam be shifted westward
to align it with the College.
- Matthew Wren (1585-1667), uncle of Christopher, had been
at Pembroke College, was Master of Peterhouse, then a bishop who was imprisoned
in the Tower of London in 1642-1659 where he resolved to beautify Pembroke.
In 1662, he had his nephew design a Chapel for Pembroke which was built in
1663-1664 as Christopher's first completed architectural work. In the east
window, to the right of Christ, Matthew Wren is shown with a model of the
- Edward Wright (c.1558-1615) was a student at Caius to 1581,
then a Fellow until c. 1600. He was the first to apply mathematics to the
art of navigation.
- Thomas Young (1773-1829) took a degree at Emmanuel in 1803.
- William Henry Young (1863-1942) was a Fellow of Peterhouse.
- G. U. Yule (1871-1951) was reader in statistics from 1912.
(Although there have been notable mathematicians at St. John's, Peterhouse,
etc., only Trinity and King's seem to have a reasonable college history available,
so I am undoubtedly missing out many people and details of interest.)
Return to the top.
Several mathematical scholars have been archbishop of Canterbury. The most
notable was Thomas Bradwardine (c1290-1349), a leader of the
Merton School at Oxford, who is buried in St. Anselm's Chapel; a brass plate
marks the spot. He died of the Black Death in 1349. St. Anselm
(c1033-1109), known for his ontological 'proof' of the existence of God, was
archbishop from 1093. John Pecham (c1230-1292), archbishop
in 1279-1292, was a mathematician and student of optics. William Laud
(1573-1645), archbishop from 1633 until his execution at the Tower of London,
was a mathematician and taught at St. John's, Oxford, to which he left his collection
of mathematical instruments. Frederick Temple (1821-1902),
archbishop from 1896, is, as a mathematician, best known for his earlier erroneous
attempt on the Four Colour Theorem. He is buried in the cloister garth.
William Frend (1757 1841) was born in Canterbury. Perhaps
best known as Augustus De Morgan's father-in-law, he was a radical Cambridge
fellow and a leading opponent of the use of negative numbers in the early 19C.
This sounds a bit negative, but a coherent definition did not arise for another
generation and the opposition of mathematicians such as Frend was a major driving
force in the development of proper foundations.
There are mathematical tiles in Canterbury: see Stephen
Bax's website (www.invictaweb.co.uk/canterburybuildings/details/math.htm)
for description and photos [TM Feb 2003]
The tallest monument in the cemetery is to Peter Nicholson
(1765-1844), architect, carpenter, surveyor, practical builder and private teacher
of mathematics. Author of some 30 books, including 9 on mathematics, his works
on carpentry and architecture abound with mathematical observations and constructions.
His Essays on the Combinatorial Analysis appeared in 1818. But
the monument makes no mention of his mathematics.
In All Saints' Churchyard is the grave of Admiral Sir Charles Napier
(1786-1860), who owned an estate nearby. He was a descendent of the inventor
of logarithms and half cousin to General Sir Charles Napier.
Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser erected a memorial to his friend, Captain
Cook, at his country house, the Vache, in 1781. (There is a reproduction
of this in the National Maritime Museum.)
Harry Golombek (1911-1995), the chess master and cryptographer,
lived in Chalfont St. Giles after the War.
James Bradley (1693-1762) died at Chalford, three miles east
of Stroud. He was born in Gloucestershire, too--at Sherborne, four miles east
of Northleach, and attended Northleach Grammar School.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) rented Forde Abbey, Chard, in 1814-1818.
His protegee, John Stuart Mill, stayed here for long periods.
The Abbey is now a museum.
Dean Liddell's mother lived at Hetton Lawn, Charlton King's. Alice
Liddell and her sisters were on holiday here in Apr 1863, and visited
twice by Lewis Carroll--some of the episodes went into Through
the Looking Glass.
Contains one of the oldest public schools for girls, Cheltenham Ladies College.
In 1875-1880, Charles Howard Hinton was assistant Master here
while finishing his studies at Oxford.
Edmond Halley was in charge of the Mint here 1696-1698
Return to the top.
The fourth Earl Stanhope planted a maze in 1818-1830, based on the design of
the second Earl Stanhope (1714-1786), the 18C polymath. This
was probably the first maze design with 'islands' so the 'hand on wall' rule
fails to locate the goal. (There are islands in the Hampton Court maze, but
the hand on wall rule solves it.) It also had no 'dead-ends'. The idea rapidly
became popular and was widely copied.
The third Earl, Charles Stanhope (1753-1816), was also a noted
inventor, devising numerical and logical calculating machines, a microscope
lens, a printing press and the process of stereotyping--examples are in the
Science Museum, London, and the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford.
Gardner says a copy of the Logic Demonstrator is owned by the present Earl,
so it may be here. The name Chevening is on some of the Stanhope items at Oxford,
so they may have been made here.
Thomas Bradwardine (c1290-1349) was born here (see above under
Canterbury). There is a plaque in the cloisters of the cathedral to Oliver Whitby,
who on his death in 1702 endowed a school for poor boys To be diligently
instructed in Reading, Writing, Arithmetick, and so far in Mathematical Learning
as may fit them for honest and useful Employments with a particular Regard to
George Berkeley (1685-1753), of The Analyst (c1733?),
was Bishop of Cloyne, 18 miles SE of Cork, from 1734 to 1752. The Cathedral
there has a memorial room and a statue of him. Cloyne House, the bishop's residence,
is now a ruin, but some books show a picture of the Cloyne House looking in
good shape, so perhaps it has been restored. It was here that he wrote his most
famous work Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues
of Tar Water. In July 1752, the Berkeleys moved to Oxford.
John Leslie (1766-1832) died at Coates, but I cannot locate
this place. He was born at Largo, on the south Fife coast.
John Dalton (1766-1844) was born in Cockermouth, where he
went to school and started teaching at age 12, leaving at age 15.
Where William Gilbert (1544-1603) was born, and has a monument
in Holy Trinity Church.
Thomas Malthus lived at the Ferry House at times during the
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George Boole(1815-1864) was Professor at Queen's College (now
University College), Cork, from its opening in 1849. He first lived at Mrs.
Knowles' boarding house in Strawberry Hill, then shared lodgings at 5 Grenville
Place, where he wrote An investigation of the laws of thought.
After his marriage to Mary Everest (niece of Sir George Everest, the Indian
surveyor) in 1855, they lived for two years at 'College View', Sunday's Well
Road. In 1857, they moved to a house in Castle Road, near the eastern suburb
of Blackrock. Here their third daughter, Alicia, was born in 1860. In early
1863, they moved to Lichfield Cottage, Ballintemple, a bit closer to Cork on
the Blackrock Road. He died at Lichfield Cottage on 8 Dec 1864 and was buried
in St. Michael's Anglican (= Church of Ireland = Episcopal) churchyard, Blackrock.
There is a marble memorial tablet in the church. A brass plaque was erected
on Lichfield Cottage in 1984 . There is a memorial window in the Aula Maxima
of the College, including figures of Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci(?), Copernicus,
Hipparchus, Galileo, Bacon, Napier, Newton, Pascal, Leibniz, Descartes, Strabo,
Ptolemy surrounding a central panel of Euclid and Aristotle behind Boole. The
new (1984) library at University College is named the Boole Library.
Has two mathematical connections nearby. Jane Carlyle, wife of Thomas Carlyle,
inherited a farm at Craigenputtock, a few miles north of Corsock,
where she and Thomas Carlyle lived in 1828-1834. And a few
miles south is Glenlair, the family home of James Clerk
Maxwell (1831-1879), now a burnt-out shell from a fire in 1929. Clerk
Maxwell is buried alongside his parents and wife in the churchyard at Parton,
some miles south-west of Corsock.
Is the site of Cranleigh School, where G. H. Hardy's father
taught. Hardy was born here, in 1877, in a house across from the school. In
c. 1881, the family moved to Mt. Pleasant, a house near the new preparatory
school off Horseshoe Lane which Hardy's parents supervised. Hardy attended the
school until 1890. Hardy's parents, Isaac and Sophia, are buried in the parish
Florence Nightingale(1820-1910) was born in Florence, but
lived at her father's mansion, Lea Hurst, on the River Derwent near Crich, about
10 miles N of Derby, until 1825. The family moved to Wellow but continued using
this house as a summer home for some years. It is now a retirement home, on
the east side of the A6.
Thomas Pennington (= Penyngton) Kirkman (1806-1895), of the
fifteen schoolgirls, was curate-in-charge of Christ Church, Croft, from 1838/9
to 1845 and then rector until 1891. He, his wife and others of his family are
buried in a family grave to the west of the church. In 1981, Biggs reported
that the monument had fallen, but in 1992, Griggs & Mathon refer to a cross
on a plinth, apparently standing. The east window in the church is a memorial
to him and there is a photograph of him in the church.
C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) lived at his father's rectory
(now the Old Rectory), opposite St. Peter's Church, Croft-on-Tees, on the A167
a bit south of Darlington, from 1843 until he settled at Oxford. There is a
tablet in St. Peter's church. In the church is a rough carving of a cat's head
of which only a grin can be seen from low down--possibly the original 'Cheshire
cat'. In late 1855, he wrote the first verse of "Jabberwocky" here. Eastman
says a part of his improvised railway line survives!
Return to the top.
Written by David Singmaster. Last updated on 28th February 2003 by TM
(A.Mann@gre.ac.uk). Copyright © BSHM and David Singmaster 1998 - 2003.
All rights reserved.
The British Society for the History of Mathematics is registered as a company limited by guarantee, no. 3326816, and as a charity, no. 1061229. Its registered office is c/o Andrew Thurburn & Co, 38 Tamworth Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 1XU, UK.