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J. M. Whittaker

revised by Anita McConnell

Aitken, Alexander Craig (1895–1967), mathematician, was born at Dunedin, New Zealand, on 1 April 1895, the eldest of the seven children of William Aitken and his wife, Elizabeth Towers. His grandfather Alexander Aitken had emigrated from Lanarkshire to Otago in 1868 and farmed in the neighbourhood of ...

Article

Babbage, Charles (1791–1871), mathematician and computer pioneer, was the first son born to Benjamin Babbage (d. 1827), a well-to-do London banker, and Elizabeth (Betsy, Betty) Plumleigh Teape (d. 1844). Confusion has surrounded both the year and place of Babbage's birth. This confusion is not an invention of modern historiography but dates back to the last century since when ...

Article

W. V. D. Hodge

revised by J. J. Gray

Baker, Henry Frederick (1866–1956), mathematician, was born at 1 Clement Court, Cambridge, on 3 July 1866, the son of Henry Baker, a domestic butler, and his wife, Sarah Ann Baker, née Britham. After attending various small schools he entered the Perse School, Cambridge...

Article

A. M. Clerke

revised by Iwan Rhys Morus

Barlow, Peter (1776–1862), mathematician and physicist, was born in the parish of St Simon, Norwich, in October 1776. Details of his early life are sparse. He was educated at a local foundation school before starting work in trade; later he became a schoolmaster, and, having by his own exertions attained considerable scientific knowledge, he became a regular correspondent of the ...

Article

Barrow, Isaac (1630–1677), mathematician and theologian, was born in London in October 1630, the son of Thomas Barrow, from a Cambridgeshire family, and his wife, Anne Buggin. Following the death of his mother in 1634 Isaac was sent to his grandfather's house where he remained until his father, already becoming a successful linen draper, married ...

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Benjamin, (Thomas) Brooke (1929–1995), mathematician and physicist, was born on 15 April 1929 at 5 The Laund, Wallasey, Cheshire, the eldest of the three children of Thomas Joseph Benjamin (1884–1960), solicitor and high-court registrar, and his wife, Ethel Mary (1900–1975), daughter of Henry Brooke...

Article

Boole, George (1815–1864), mathematician and logician, was born on 2 November 1815 in Lincoln, the eldest of four children of a local tradesman, John Boole (1777–1848), and his wife, Mary Ann (1780–1854). He adopted a love of learning from his father, who was active in the local mechanics' institute, to such an extent that in his teens he was employed as a teacher at schools in ...

Article

Bronowski, Jacob (1908–1974), mathematician, poet, and humanist, was born on 18 January 1908 in Łódź, Poland, the first of the three children of Abram Bronowski, haberdasher, and his wife, Celia Flatto. During the First World War the family lived in Germany, and in 1920 they moved to ...

Article

Brouncker, William, second Viscount Brouncker of Lyons (1620–1684), mathematician and first president of the Royal Society of London, was born at Newcastle Lyons, co. Dublin in 1620, probably in April, the eldest son of Sir William Brouncker (1585–1645), gentleman of the privy chamber to ...

Article

Byron, (Augusta) Ada [married name (Augusta) Ada King, countess of Lovelace] (1815–1852), mathematician and computer pioneer, was born on 10 December 1815 at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, London, the only child of George Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron (1788–1824), poet, and his wife, ...

Article

Cartwright, Dame Mary Lucy (1900–1998), mathematician, was born on 17 December 1900 at Church Cottage, Aynho, Northamptonshire, third child of William Digby Cartwright and his wife, Lucy Harriette Maud, née Bury. Her father acted as curate of Aynho for his incapacitated uncle, becoming rector in 1906. Her two older brothers were killed in the First World War leaving a younger sister, ...

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Cayley, Arthur (1821–1895), mathematician, was born on 16 August 1821 in Richmond, Surrey, the second son of five children of Henry Cayley (1768–1850), Russia merchant, and his wife, Maria Antonia Doughty (1794–1875). His parents lived in St Petersburg and Arthur was born on one of their summer visits to ...

Article

Chapman, Sydney (1888–1970), mathematician and geophysicist, was born on 29 January 1888 in Eccles, Lancashire, the second son of Joseph Chapman, chief cashier at Rylands, a Manchester textiles firm, and his wife, Sarah Gray. He left elementary school at the age of fourteen and attended the ...

Article

Clifford, William Kingdon (1845–1879), mathematician and philosopher of science, was born on 4 May 1845 at Exeter, the eldest son of William Clifford, a justice of the peace who died in 1878. His mother, whose maiden name was Kingdon, died not long after he was born. ...

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Collingwood, Sir Edward Foyle (1900–1970), mathematician and medical administrator, was born at Lilburn Tower, near Wooler, Northumberland, on 17 January 1900, the eldest of the four sons of Colonel Cuthbert George Collingwood (1848–1933), landowner, of Glanton Pyke, and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of the ...

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Cowling, Thomas George (1906–1990), mathematician and astrophysicist, was born on 17 June 1906 at 3 Harrogate Road, South Hackney, London, the second of the four sons of George Cowling, Post Office engineer, and Edith Eliza Cowling, née Nicholls. Cowling was educated at Sir George Monoux Grammar School, Walthamstow...

Article

Darwin, Sir George Howard (1845–1912), mathematician and geophysicist, was born on 9 July 1845 at Down House, Downe, Kent, the fifth child (the third of seven to survive childhood) of Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882), the naturalist, and his wife, Emma Wedgwood (1808–1896), granddaughter of the potter ...

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Davenport, Harold (1907–1969), mathematician, was born on 30 October 1907 in Huncoat, near Accrington, Lancashire, the elder child and only son of Percy Davenport, a clerk, and, later, the company secretary, at Perseverance Mill, and his wife, Nancy, daughter of John Barnes, the owner of the mill. From ...

Article

Davis, Ian Gordon McNaught- (1929–2014), mountaineer, businessman, and broadcaster, was born on 30 August 1929 at Noordschote, Third Avenue, Newton Hill, Wakefield, Yorkshire, the son of Stanley Gordon McNaught-Davis (1889–1971), an ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot then working as a bus driver, later a transport manager, and his wife ...

Article

Davis, William (1771/2–1807), mathematician and publisher, probably made his early career as a surveyor and teacher of mathematics. He is first known in 1796 and 1797, as a contributor to mathematical periodicals. About this time he must have issued his first publication, An Easy and Comprehensive Description and Use of the Globes...