Person: Abbott, Edwin
Edwin Abbott was an English schoolmaster who wrote the popular book Flatland as an introduction to higher dimensions.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Edwin Abbott was headmaster of the Philological School at Marylebone.
- Abbott was educated at the City of London School which had gained a fine reputation under Dr G F W Mortimer who was headmaster throughout the years during which he studied there.
- Following a fine school education, Abbott entered St John's College, Cambridge, in 1857.
- At this time College fellows were not allowed to marry so, when Abbott wished to marry Mary Elizabeth Rangeley from Unstone, Derbyshire, in 1863, he had to resign the fellowship.
- After leaving Cambridge, Abbott taught at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and then at Clifton College.
- It was a post which Abbott held for 24 years until he retired in 1889.
- Of course Abbott was relatively young when he retired being only 50 years old.
- As a scholar, Abbott was very broad writing excellent works on a wide variety of topics.
- This was Flatland: a romance of many dimensions (1884) which Abbott wrote under the pseudonym of A Square.
- In it Abbott tries to popularise the notion of multidimensional geometry but the book is also a clever satire on the social, moral, and religious values of the period.
- In Abbott's Flatland, the more sides you have then the higher is your class.
- It is worth noting that this remarkable piece of writing by Abbott predated by many years Einstein's four dimensional world of relativity.
- Abbott died of influenza at his home, Wellside, Well Walk in Hampstead, and was buried in Hampstead cemetery.
Born 20 December 1838, Marylebone, Middlesex, England. Died 12 October 1926, Hampstead, 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