Person: Glenie, James
James Glenie was a Scottish mathematician who was involved in an early dispute in the Royal Society.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- James attended the local parish school before matriculating at the University of St Andrews where he studied the standard syllabus taken by all students which included classics, mathematics and science.
- Glenie then qualified as an engineer at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.
- During his time in North America with the army Glenie worked on mathematics.
- In 1778 the Royal Society published Glenie's paper on the antecedental calculus.
- Hutton was supported by Glenie as well as by Atwood Maseres, Maskelyne, Landen, Hornsby and others.
- They accusing Banks of using excessive authority and of being "despotic" and Glenie made a strong speech opposing Banks and supporting his fellow mathematicians at a meeting of the Society in February 1784.
- Glenie, and the others in the mathematicians' mutiny, strongly supported this.
- The "mathematicians' mutiny" in the Royal Society was only one of several disputes that Glenie became involved in.
- Glenie's somewhat tactless declaration that these plans were absurd and impracticable was ill received and led to a flurry of pamphleteering on both sides.
- In many ways Glenie won the argument since the Duke's plans failed to gain the approval of Parliament in 1786.
- Glenie still retained his interest in mathematics and he published his ideas in a book entitled the Antecedental Calculus (1793, 1794).
- Yet again Glenie tried to succeed in another venture.
- Perhaps, as in other ventures, Glenie was rather naive and had not set up the proper legal protections for himself.
- When Glenie returned he was not recompensed so he put in a claim for compensation which eventually went to arbitration.
- Even the arbitrators could not agree and Glenie was left financially ruined.
- He turned again to his mathematics, attempting to make some money by taking pupils but, like so many of Glenie's ventures, this too was not successful.
Born 18 October 1750, Leslie, Fife, Scotland. Died 23 November 1817, Chelsea, London, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive