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Atkinson, Henry (1781–1829), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 28 June 1781 at West Harle, Northumberland, the son of Cuthbert Atkinson (1754/5–1840), a schoolmaster, and his wife, Elizabeth Smyth. He was educated by his father, who ran a number of schools in small towns in ...

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Brinkley, John (1766/7–1835), mathematician and astronomer, was born, probably in December 1766 but possibly in January 1767, in Woodbridge, Suffolk, and was baptized there on 31 January 1767. His father was John Toler, a vintner, and his maternal grandfather was John Brinkley, a butcher. His mother, ...

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H. Spencer Jones

revised by Isobel Falconer

Brown, Ernest William (1866–1938), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 29 November 1866 at Hull, the second child and elder son of William Brown, farmer, and later a lumber merchant of Hull, and his wife, Emma Martin. Educated at the Hull and East Riding College...

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Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan (1910–1995), applied mathematician and astrophysicist, was born on 19 October 1910 in Lahore, India, the eldest of four sons and third of the ten children of C. Subrahmanyan Ayyar (1885–1960), assistant auditor to the Northwest Railways, and his wife, Sitalaksmi (1891–1931)...

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Comrie, Leslie John (1893–1950), astronomer and computational mathematician, was born on 15 August 1893 at Pukekohe, near Auckland, New Zealand, the son of John Alexander Comrie and his wife, Helen Lois Smith. His father was a farmer, and both the Comrie and Smith...

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Cotes, Roger (1682–1716), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 10 July 1682 at Burbage, Leicestershire, the second son of Robert Cotes, rector of Burbage, and his wife, Grace, daughter of Major Farmer of Barwell, Leicestershire. Besides his elder brother, Anthony (b. 1681)...

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Cowell, Philip Herbert (1870–1949), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 7 August 1870 at Calcutta, the second son of Herbert Cowell (b. 1837), a barrister, and his wife, Alice (b. 1842), the third daughter of Newson Garrett, a merchant, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk...

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Thomas George Cowling (1906–1990) by Walter Bird © Royal Astronomical Society Library

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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

W. J. Harrison

revised by I. Grattan-Guinness

Donkin, William Fishburn (1814–1869), astronomer and mathematician, the first son of Thomas Donkin, was born at Bishop Burton, Yorkshire, on 15 February 1814. He early showed a marked talent for languages, mathematics, and music. He was educated at St Peter's School, York, and in 1832 entered ...

Article

Downing, Arthur Matthew Weld (1850–1917), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 13 April 1850 at Carlow, Ireland, the younger son of Arthur Matthew Downing (b. 1809/10), and his wife, Mary Weld. He was educated at Nutgrove, then a well-known school near Rathfarnham, co. Dublin...

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David Gregory (1659–1708) by William Townesend, 1708 Vicar & Churchwardens, University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford

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Gregory, David (1659–1708), mathematician and astronomer, was born in Upper Kirkgate, Aberdeen, on 3 June 1659, the fourth of fifteen children of David Gregorie (1625–1720), medical practitioner of Kinnairdy in Banffshire, and his first wife, Jean (d. 1671), daughter of Patrick Walker...

Article

R. E. Anderson

revised by Adrian Rice

Hellins, John (1749?–d. 1827), mathematician and astronomer, was born in or near North Tawton, Devon, into a poor family. His father worked as a labourer at Ashreigney, near Chulmleigh. Hellins was bound as a parish apprentice to a cooper at Chulmleigh and worked at that trade until he was about twenty, during which time he taught himself elementary mathematics. He then became master of a small school at ...

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Sir John Frederick William Herschel, first baronet (1792–1871) by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, c. 1848 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Herschel, Sir John Frederick William, first baronet (1792–1871), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 7 March 1792 in Slough, the only child of the marriage in 1788 of William Herschel (1738–1822), astronomer, and the widow Mary Pitt, née Baldwin (1762/3–1832?). His father was of German ancestry, his mother English....

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Holbroke [Holbrook], John (d. 1437), mathematician and astronomer, was a native of Suffolk. He is first recorded in August 1393, when he was admitted to a fellowship at Peterhouse, Cambridge; he became master about June 1421 and held that position for the rest of his life. He was ordained priest in 1413 and was styled DTh by 1418; no doubt he had been awarded the degree of MA several years before. ...

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Sir James Hopwood Jeans (1877–1946) by Philip A. de Laszlo, 1924 The de László Foundation / © Royal Society

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Jeans, Sir James Hopwood (1877–1946), mathematician and astronomer, was born on 11 September 1877 at 29 Kew Road, Birkdale, Lancashire, the only son of William Tulloch Jeans, parliamentary journalist, and his wife, Martha Ann Hopwood. On his father's side there was a strong newspaper tradition: both his grandfather and his great-grandfather had owned newspapers. His mother came from a strongly evangelical family, and this made for a rather strict and unhappy childhood. However, he shared a liking for walking with his father, and the latter, who wrote two popular science books, encouraged his son's intellectual interests....

Article

E. T. Whittaker

revised by Adrian Rice

Joly, Charles Jasper (1864–1906), mathematician and astronomer, was born at St Catherine's rectory, Tullamore, Ireland, on 27 June 1864, the eldest son in the family of three sons and two daughters of John Swift Joly (successively rector of St Catherine's, Tullamore, and of ...