Article ID: CBB076271542

Mathematical Analysis and Physical Astronomy in Great Britain and Ireland, 1790-1831: Some New Light on the French Connection (2016)


The reception by British and Irish mathematicians of late-eighteenth-century French mathematical analysis, and its applications to astronomy, is here re-examined. The main early British participants were John Robison, John Playfair, Robert Woodhouse, John Toplis, John Brinkley, John West, William Spence, John Herapath, James Ivory, William Wallace, and Mary Somerville. Their activities and publications, and those of some others, are outlined. The reviews of John Playfair and Robert Woodhouse, many little-known, are highlighted. Finally, we discuss why, despite the work of these individuals, reform of British mathematics was at first so slow; and why, in contrast, the eventual modernisation of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos examinations, following the efforts of Charles Babbage, John Herschel, George Peacock and others, led to rapid improvement.

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Authors & Contributors
Ulrich, Laurel
Page, Frederick G.
Carroll, Patrick
Simon, Josep
Martin, Jean-Pierre
McConnell, Anita
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Pharmacy in History
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Histoire & Mesure
Archives of Natural History
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
University of California Press
Carnegie Publishing
Harvard University
University of Pittsburgh Press
Oxford University Press
Cross-national interaction
Professions and professionalization
Longitude and latitude
Applied mathematics
Ganot, Pierre Benjamin Adolphe
Lacaille, Nicolas Louis de
Sowerby, family
Gerville, Charles De
Sowerby, James
Kirwan, Richard
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
17th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
United States
Québec (Canada)
Paris Observatory
Royal Society of London
Académie des Sciences, Paris
Royal Observatory Greenwich

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