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Mathematics in Victorian Britain

Edited By: Raymond Flood, Adrian Rice, Robin Wilson and Adam Hart-Davis

480 pages, 252 illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Sep 2011 | #195685 | ISBN-13: 9780199601394
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £29.99 $37/€34 approx

About this book

During the Victorian era, industrial and economic growth led to a phenomenal rise in productivity and invention. That spirit of creativity and ingenuity was reflected in the massive expansion in scope and complexity of many scientific disciplines during this time, with subjects evolving rapidly and the creation of many new disciplines. The subject of mathematics was no exception and many of the advances made by mathematicians during the Victorian period are still familiar today; matrices, vectors, Boolean algebra, histograms, and standard deviation were just some of the innovations pioneered by these mathematicians.

This book constitutes perhaps the first general survey of the mathematics of the Victorian period. It assembles in a single source research on the history of Victorian mathematics that would otherwise be out of the reach of the general reader. It charts the growth and institutional development of mathematics as a profession through the course of the 19th century in England, Scotland, Ireland, and across the British Empire. It then focuses on developments in specific mathematical areas, with chapters ranging from developments in pure mathematical topics (such as geometry, algebra, and logic) to Victorian work in the applied side of the subject (including statistics, calculating machines, and astronomy). Along the way, we encounter a host of mathematical scholars, some very well known (such as Charles Babbage, James Clerk Maxwell, Florence Nightingale, and Lewis Carroll), others largely forgotten, but who all contributed to the development of Victorian mathematics.


Foreword by Adam Hart-Davis
Adrian Rice: Introduction

1: Tony Crilly: Cambridge: the rise and fall of the mathematical tripos
2: Keith Hannabuss: Mathematics in Victorian Oxford: a tale of three professors
3: Adrian Rice: Mathematics in the metropolis: a survey of Victorian London
4: A. J. S. Mann and A. D. D. Craik: Scotland: land of opportunity but few rewards
5: Raymond Flood: Taking root: Mathematics in Victorian Ireland
6: June Barrow-Green: Wranglers in Exile: mathematics in the British Empire
7: Sloan Evans Despeaux: A voice for mathematics: Victorian mathematical journals and societies
8: A. D. D. Craik: Victorian 'applied mathematics'
9: Allan Chapman: Victorian astronomy: the age of the 'Grand Amateur'
10: Doron D. Swade: Calculating engines: machines, mathematics, and misconceptions
11: M. Eileen Magnello: Vital statistics: the measurement of public health
12: M. Eileen Magnello: Darwinian variation and the creation of mathematical statistics
13: I. Grattan-Guinness: Instruction in the calculus and differential equations in Victorian and Edwardian Britain
14: Amirouche Moktefi: Geometry: the Euclid debate
15: Karen Hunger Parshall: Victorian algebra: the freedom to create new mathematical entities
16: I. Grattan-Guinness: Victorian logic: from Whately to Russell
17: Robin Wilson: Combinatorics: a very Victorian recreation
18: Jeremy Gray: Overstating their case? Reflections on British pure mathematics in the 19th century

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