Person: Hellins, John
John Hellins was an English mathematician, astronomer and country parson.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The small school where Hellins had become a master was at Bishop's Tawton, a village close to the south side of Barnstaple.
- At the time when he became friendly with Hellins, Hitchins had taken holy orders and left Greenwich to become vicar of Hennock, Exeter.
- He recommended Hellins to Maskelyne, suggesting that he would make an excellent assistant.
- From 1779 Hellins served as a Curate at the village of Constantine, Cornwall, 8 km south west of Falmouth and less than 40 km from Land's End.
- A 'Ten-year man' was a mature student who could proceed to the divinity degree without first obtaining a B.A. Hellins only held the curacy at Green's Norton for a year before he was presented as vicar at Potterspury, Northamptonshire, by Henry Bathurst, the Second Earl Bathurst.
- Hellins published many papers; the following were all in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: A new method of finding the equal roots of an equation by division (1782); Dr Halley's method of computing the quadrature of the circle improved; being a transformation of his series for that purpose, to others which converge by the powers of 60 (1794); Mr Jones' computation of the hyperbolic logarithm of 10 compared (1796); A method of computing the value of a slowly converging series, of which all the terms are affirmative (1798); An improved solution of a problem in physical astronomy, by which swiftly converging series are obtained, which are useful in computing the perturbations of the motions of the Earth, Mars, and Venus, by their mutual attraction (1798); A second appendix to the improved solution of a problem in physical astronomy (1800); and On the rectification of the conic sections (1802).
- Hellins published three articles in the British Critic entitled On Donna Agnesi's 'Analytical Institutions' in 1804 and 1805.
- Hellins had edited the translation by Colson of Maria Gaetana Agnesi's Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventù italiana.
- Finally let us mention Hellins' 1811 article On F Baily's work on the 'Doctrine of Interest and Annuities' which discussed The Doctrine of Interest and Annuities (1808) written by the astronomer Francis Baily (1774 -1844) who is famed for 'Baily's beads' observed during an eclipse of the Sun.
- The school was initially housed in a single room, but by October a new school building was under construction and in March 1818 Hellins reported that the building was nearly ready to have glass installed in the windows.
- This building is still at the heart of John Hellins School today.
- It was named the John Hellins School in 1990.
- Hellins continued to serve as vicar of Potterspury until his death in 1827.
Born 1749, North Tawton, Devon, England. Died 5 April 1827, Potterspury, Northamptonshire, 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