John Brehaut Wallis was born November 23, 1616 in Kent, England. Born to Joanna Chapman and John Wallis who was a minister; his father died when he was very young, and his mother was left to raise all five of their children. At the age of fifteen, he attended the well known school of Martin Holbeach at Felsted, Essex, where he excelled in learning three languages: Hebrew, Latin and Greek. In that same year, he was first introduced to mathematics through his brother since his school did not offer mathematics. In Wallis autobiography, he explains how his brother showed him the basic rules of arithmetic, and Wallis quoted that mathematics “suited my humour so well that I did thenceforth prosecute it, not as a formal study, but as a pleasing diversion at spare hours...” (C. J. Scriba). After attending the school of Martin Holbeach for one year, Wallis was sent to Emmanuel College where he went on to retrieve his bachelors degree and masters degree while pursing his career in theology. (J J O'Connor and E F Robertson)
John Wallis was very active in the church, serving as a chaplain and minister for a couple years. Wallis then centered his focused around mathematics. Wallis wrote in his book entitled Algebra “that his interest in mathematics was first aroused in 1647 or 1648, when he chanced upon a copy of William Oughtred’s Clavis -mathematicae” (Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography). Wallis made contributions to trigonometry, calculus, and geometry; he was determined to learn and be conducive to all aspects of mathematics.
Wallis was known for many of his books, and discoveries in math, but his most important contribution to the development of Calculus would be his contributions to integral calculus. Wallis development of standard notation for power is very beneficial for calculus; It helps us convert square roots into exponential form, helps to convert negative exponents into a fraction form and vice versa. These simple inventions...
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