Person: Hopkins, William
William Hopkins was an English mathematician best-known as a tutor for the Cambridge tripos examinations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Hopkins senior was a farmer, not in the sense of working on a farm but in the sense of owning a farm and employing others to do the hard work.
- William showed little progress, particularly when he was taken to Norfolk and instructed in the practical matters concerned with the running of a farm.
- In 1822, at the age of twenty-nine, Hopkins entered Peterhouse, the oldest of the Colleges of the University of Cambridge.
- After graduating Hopkins became a private tutor at Cambridge, having Tait, Thomson, Stokes, Maxwell and Todhunter among his pupils.
- Hopkins made relatively little contributions to pure mathematics, other than in his tutoring and with a two volume text Elements of Trigonometry written in 1833 and 1847 which contains interesting historical comments.
- Hopkins accompanied Sedgwick to Barmouth on many of these trips and through this work, which he greatly enjoyed, he began to feel that geology would benefit by being put on a firm mathematical basis.
- Hopkins was President of the Geological Society of London in 1851 and 1852 (Sedgwick had been President of the Society in 1829).
- He referred to a series of important experiments which he had instituted at Manchester with the advice of Sir William Thomson and the assistance of Messrs Joule and Fairbairn, to determine the temperature of melting substances under great pressure.
- The experiments were being conducted by Hopkins in his study of the interior of the Earth.
- It would not be unfair to say that most of the geological theories which Hopkins proposed have turned out to be false.
- Except in the popularisation of quantification and in the broader field of geophysics, Hopkins' effect on contemporary geology was frequently retrogressive rather than progressive.
Born 2 February 1793, Kingston-on-Soar, Derbyshire, England. Died 1866, Cambridge, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin England, Physics
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