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Sketch of the History of Mathematics in Scotland to the end of the 18th Century: Part II

  • G. A. Gibson
Extract

The centre of interest now shifts from St Andrews and Edinburgh to Glasgow. The troubles that afflicted Scotland during the 17th Century bore heavily on Glasgow University and more particularly on the position of Mathematics in the University; but in 1691 a distinct Professorship of Mathematics was founded, and from that date the old system of Regents disappeared from Glasgow so far as Mathematics was concerned. The first occupant of the Chair was George Sinclair, who is now chiefly remembered by the controversy in which James Gregory held up Sinclair's Treatise Ars nova et magna to ridicule. It is not fair however to take Gregory's pamphlet as a final estimate of Sinclair's contributions to science; Sinclair laid himself open to attack, but he rendered great service to the mining industry of Scotland and deserves the gratitude of posterity in spite of his many eccentricities. His contributions to mathematics however are of no importance, but during his tenure of the Chair the number of students grew rapidly and the new professorship made a good start.

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page 71 note 1 In 1704 Sinclair was intrusted by the Faculty with the teaching of Hebrew.

page 78 note 1 For some valuable remarks on Stirling's work on curves I would refer to an article by Wieleitner, (Bibliotheca Mathematica, Band XIV., 5562.)

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Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society
  • ISSN: 0013-0915
  • EISSN: 1464-3839
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-edinburgh-mathematical-society
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