Person: Braikenridge, William
William Braikenridge was an Scottish mathematician and theologian who worked on geometry and independently discovered many of the same results as Maclaurin.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- William Braikenridge taught mathematics in Edinburgh in the 1720s.
- The Braikenridge-Maclaurin theorem appeared in Exercitatio geometrica de descriptione linearum curvarum published in 1733 but there followed a dispute regarding priority with Maclaurin.
- Braikenridge claimed to have discovered the theorem, and many other results, in 1726 when he was living in Edinburgh and that Maclaurin had learnt of them.
- This was a rather sad affair and one has to feel sorry for both Braikenridge and Maclaurin but it is an affair that is worth expanding on since in many ways this is the main way in which Braikenridge enters the history of mathematics.
- However, Braikenridge does then go on to attack Maclaurin's letter to Machin more violently.
- Braikenridge then says that indeed he did get some of the ideas from reading the work of others but that it was not Maclaurin's work, but rather it was the work of de la Hire that inspired him.
- Maclaurin composed a long letter in reply to Braikenridge, then decided not to send it.
- Other works published by Braikenridge in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society include A general method of describing curves, by the intersection of right lines, moving about points in a given plane.
- Braikenridge gained an Honorary MA from Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1735, and a DD in 1739 while he was vicar of New Church, Isle of Wight.
Born about 1700, Scotland. Died 30 July 1762, London, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive