Person: Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge
Charles Dodgson was a mathematics lecturer and author of mathematics books who is better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. He is known especially for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Charles Dodgson senior was born in 1800 and studied at the University of Oxford where he gained a First Class degree in both mathematics and classics.
- He was appointed as a mathematics lecturer at Oxford where he held a Fellowship but, on marrying his cousin Frances Jane Lutwidge in 1827, he had to give up his Oxford Fellowship.
- On 1 August 1844 Charles enter Richmond School as a boarder, living in the headmaster's house.
- On 27 January 1846, Charles' fourteenth birthday, he enrolled at Rugby School.
- This was a famous school but one where Charles found things extremely difficult.
- Despite being deeply unhappy, Dodgson achieved high standards in his school work, receiving a steady stream of prizes.
- On 24 January 1851 Dodgson returned to Oxford to live with the Rev.
- This was the year when Dodgson completed his studies receiving a Third Class Degree in Classics but topping the list of those receiving First Class honours in mathematics by a good margin.
- At this point, however, the usually conscientious Dodgson became too taken up with leisure and cultural activities and failed to put in the necessary work at mathematics.
- Dodgson remained at Christ Church, Oxford, lecturing on mathematics and writing treatises and guides for students until 1881.
- Although he took deacon's orders in 1861, Dodgson was never ordained a priest, partly because he was afflicted with a stammer that made preaching difficult and partly, perhaps, because he had discovered other interests such as the theatre.
- Among Dodgson's hobbies was photography, at which he became highly proficient.
- It was in 1862 that Dodgson wrote down the stories at Alice's request.
- Henry Kingsley, the author, visited the Liddells and happened to pick up Dodgson's stories.
- He made it very clear that Dodgson had to be persuaded to publish his writings.
- Three years later, after polishing them and adding some more material, Dodgson published his first "Alice book" as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- As a mathematician, Dodgson was rather conservative but certainly thorough and careful.
- Dodgson wrote it to defend using Euclid's Elements as a means of teaching geometry.
- In the latter work Dodgson presented a way of visually representing propositions in a diagram which is similar to Venn diagrams, developed by John Venn in 1881, but Dodgson's pictures have certain advantages.
- However, Venn diagrams are today much used and Dodgson's gameboard method is forgotten.
- As early as 1894 Dodgson used truth tables for the solution of specific logic problems.
- By 1896 Dodgson had developed the method of trees for determining some validity, which bears a resemblance to the trees frequently employed by contemporary logicians.
- Other recent work has again put Dodgson's mathematical contributions in a much more favourable light than it was previously seen.
- It is argued that Dodgson's work on cycles anticipates a stochastic model proposed by Thompson and Remage in 1964 and includes ideas that are basic to maximum likelihood estimation.
- Dodgson, writing as Lewis Carroll, contributed wonderful examples of nonsense verse the best known of which is 'Jabberwocky' from Through the Looking-Glass.
Born 27 January 1832, Daresbury, England. Died 14 January 1898, Guilford, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin England, Puzzles And Problems, Statistics
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