Person: Neile, William
William Neile was an English mathematician who was the first to calculate the arc-length of the cubical parabola.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- We know little of Neile's life during the Commonwealth (1649-60) except that he was living at White Waltham near Maidenhead, evidently a man of means with an interest in astronomy and in the making of telescopes.
- William Neile entered Wadham College, Oxford, in 1652 (but did not matriculate until 1655) where he was taught mathematics by John Wilkins and Seth Ward.
- Paul Neile was also building a telescope for Gresham College at this time.
- In 1657 William Neile became a pupil of law at the Middle Temple in London.
- He communicated his results to William Brouncker and Christopher Wren at the Gresham College Society, the Society based at Gresham College, London, which a few years later became the Royal Society.
- Neile's work on this appeared in John Wallis's De Cycloide in 1659.
- Wallis was easily able to make Neile's proof algebraic using the notation defined in 'De sectionibus conicis', while William Brouncker went further and came up with a formula for the length of a portion of the curve in terms of its coordinates.
- Neile was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 7 January 1663, one of the first members of this Society.
- Oldenberg was the secretary of the Royal Society and his correspondence contains several letters from Neile.
- In January 1668 Neile had written a letter to Oldenburg complaining that the country was putting far too much of its resources into military preparations rather than supporting science.
Born 16 December 1637, Bishopsthorpe (near York), England. Died 24 August 1670, White Waltham, Berkshire, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin England
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive