Person: Keill, John
John Keill was a Scottish mathematician who acted as a propagator of Newton's philosophy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- John attended school in Edinburgh, then studied at Edinburgh University under David Gregory obtaining his degree in 1692 with distinction in both mathematics and physics.
- Keill went to Oxford with David Gregory in 1692 and, after obtaining a scholarship to finance his studies, studied at Balliol College.
- Keill was appointed deputy to the Sedleian professor of natural philosophy in 1699, a post he held until 1704.
- Keill was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1701 and remained at Balliol College until his scholarship ran out in 1703 when he transferred to Christ Church.
- Many wished to settle in North America and Keill accompanied a party who sailed to New England.
- In the following year the Savilian Professorship of Astronomy in Oxford became vacant again and this time Keill was appointed taking up the post in 1712.
- Keill acted as a propagator of Newton's philosophy and argued against Whiston and others.
- This did not provoke any reaction from Newton until 1711 when Keill suggested that this could be interpreted as suggesting that Newton's fluxions were a moving version of Leibniz's differentials.
- Keill responded by accusing Leibniz of plagiarizing Newton in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and Leibniz wrote to the Royal Society asking that he withdraw his accusation.
- Keill maintained his position and Leibniz wrote to Newton asking him to tell Keill to withdraw his accusations.
- Keill did write a reply in the Journal Litéraire which he intended as a defence of national honour.
- Although Keill and Newton seemed very friendly at this time it appeared that Newton grew tired of Keill's stirring up trouble.
- Newton made it up with Johann Bernoulli although Keill never did.
- Perhaps the attraction for Keill was the fact that she was twenty-five years younger.
- Keill's work Euclides elementorum libri priores sex Ⓣ(The first six books of Euclid's 'Elements') published in 1715 studies trigonometry and logarithms.
Born 1 December 1671, Edinburgh, Scotland. Died 31 August 1721, Oxford, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Scotland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive