Person: Carlyle, Thomas
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish writer who was also interested in mathematics. He translated Legendre's work Éléments de géométrie.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Thomas attended the village school at Ecclefechan until he was six years old and then Hoddam parish school until he was ten years old.
- Carlyle entered the Edinburgh University in November 1809 where his parents expected him to train to enter the ministry.
- The university was eighty miles from Ecclefechan and Carlyle said goodbye to his parents on the edge of his home town then walked the eighty miles during the following three days.
- Carlyle completed the one year of full time study but did not enjoy it.
- Unhappy with teaching, Carlyle resigned from his post in Kirkcaldy in 1818, and returned to Edinburgh University.
- Carlyle chose not to follow Leslie's advice but, despite making a little money as a mathematics tutor, he was in severe financial difficulties.
- In mathematics Carlyle is famed for his English translation of Legendre's Eléments de géométrie which David Brewster commissioned him to undertake for £50 in 1821.
- Carlyle held a number of posts as a tutor after leaving Edinburgh University, having no fixed base.
- Carlyle was soon sending Jane letters showing his affection, but she found it hard to imagine that she might ever marry.
- Despite little encouragement, Carlyle persisted in his attempts to win Jane over.
- Carlyle lived for a year at a small isolated farm called Hoddam Hill near the town of his birth.
- It is interesting, however, that even at this stage, Carlyle was still interested in teaching mathematics.
- Carlyle also applied unsuccessfully for the chair of moral philosophy at St Andrews University, and he even applied for the chair of astronomy at Edinburgh University in 1834.
- Carlyle had to rewrite the whole volume from memory.
- As well as his historical works Carlyle wrote Chartism (1840) which opposes conventional economic theory.
- These works had achieved fame for Carlyle who now received invitations to lecture which solved his financial problems.
- Carlyle became rector of Edinburgh University in 1865 after Gladstone retired from the office.
- Carlyle was never able to respect ordinary men ...
Born 4 December 1795, Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Died 5 February 1881, Chelsea, 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