Person: Cajori, Florian
Florian Cajori was a Swiss mathematician best known for his influential History of Mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Florian attended schools in Switzerland, first in Zillis, which lies about seven kilometres south of Thusis, and then in Chur, the capital of Graubünden canton in eastern Switzerland.
- Cajori emigrated to the United States in 1875 when he was sixteen years old.
- Cajori did not enter university immediately after graduating, but he taught in a country school before beginning his studies of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin.
- Having studied for about eighteen months at Johns Hopkins, Cajori left in June 1885 and was awarded his Master's degree by the University of Wisconsin the following year.
- After leaving Johns Hopkins University, Cajori was appointed as assistant professor at Tulane University in New Orleans in 1885 even before receiving his Master's degree.
- Cajori held the chair of mathematics at Colorado College from 1898 until 1918, being Dean of the Department of Engineering for the last fifteen years of his time at Colorado Springs.
- This was the first chair in the history of mathematics to be founded in the United States and it says much of Cajori's high reputation that a special chair was created at this leading university.
- We must now examine a little of the contribution which Cajori made to the history of mathematics to understand his high international reputation in the subject which gained him many honours in his lifetime but the somewhat less regard in which he is held by historians of science today.
- Cajori wrote many historical books and we shall make some comments on a few of them.
- Perhaps the book which first brought Cajori fame was A History of Mathematics (1894, 2nd ed.
- A History of Mathematical Notations, 2 volumes (1928-29) is undoubtedly Cajori's greatest work.
- After Cajori's death Sir Isaac Newton's "Mathematical principles" of Natural Philosophy and His System of the World was published in 1934.
- Cajori makes very clear his aim in producing this edition of Newton's Principia which was to make the text readable to modern readers by replacing the archaic language used in the existing English translations of Newton's Latin text.
- Cajori wrote about twelve books and a large number of papers and reports on the history of mathematics.
- Although we have made indicated that at times Cajori's work lacked the scholarship which one would expect of such an eminent scientist, we must not give too negative an impression of this important figure.
- Finally we should look at honours Cajori received.
Born 28 February 1859, St Aignan (near Thusis), Graubünden, Switzerland. Died 14 August 1930, Berkeley, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Ancient Indian, Origin Switzerland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive