John Wallis

Topics: Isaac Newton, Mathematics, Geometry Pages: 2 (730 words) Published: December 17, 2012
John Wallis—Infinity
John Wallis was born at Ashford on November 22, 1616, and died at Oxford on October 28, 1703. He was educated at Felstead school, and one day in his holidays, when fifteen years old, he happened to see a book of arithmetic in the hands of his brother; struck with curiosity at the odd signs and symbols in it he borrowed the book, and in a fortnight, with his brother's help, had mastered the subject. As it was intended that he should be a doctor, he was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, while there he kept an ``act'' on the doctrine of the circulation of the blood; that was said to have been the first occasion in Europe on which this theory was publicly maintained in a disputation. His interests, however, centred on mathematics. Considered to be the most influential mathematician prior to Sir Isaac Newton, John Wallis was born in 1616 in Ashford, Kent, England, the son of Reverend John Wallis. At first locally educated, Wallis was first introduced to Math while at school in Felsted, Essex. At the time, however, Math was not considered a primary academic study. Enrolling in Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Wallis' plan was to become a Doctor but, after graduating, he went on to obtain his Masters degree in 1640, before becoming a Priest. Wallis was elected to a fellowship at Queen’s College, Cambridge in 1644 but resigned the following year after his marriage to Susanna Glyde. Wallis became interested in cryptography and once refused to teach the principles to German students due to his recognizing the potential of such techniques for his country. Although a Royalist, Wallis still served the government after the Civil War that ousted King Charles I in 1649, and on the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, became Chaplain to King Charles II. In London, about 1643 Wallis joined a group of scientists later known as the Royal Society and 6 years later was appointed as chair of Geometry at Oxford University where he remained until his death in 1703....
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