Person: Ferrers, Norman Macleod
Norman Ferrers was an English mathematician, university administrator and editor of a mathematical journal.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Ferrers entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, on 6 March 1847 and, over the next four years, studied the Mathematical Tripos.
- However, as Cayley had done a few years earlier, Ferrers went to London to study law and was called to the bar in 1855.
- Now although Ferrers was studying for the priesthood, soon after he returned to Cambridge he was offered the post of lecturer in mathematics which had resulted from changes in the tutorial staff at Caius College.
- the Master, Dr Edwin Guest, invited Ferrers, who was by far the best mathematician amongst the fellows, to supply the place.
- When Dr Edwin Guest resigned as Master of Gonville and Caius College, Ferrers was appointed to succeed him on 17 October 1880.
- Ferrers's treatise on "Spherical Harmonics," published in 1877, presented many original features.
- Readers who are familiar with the concept of Ferrers graphs will wonder which of these works contains this interesting idea.
- Are the 'Ferrers graphs' then misnamed?
- No - not at all - for indeed the idea was due to Ferrers but we know this through the work of Sylvester.
- This proposition was mentioned to me by Mr N M Ferrers, whose demonstration of it ...
- The problem to which Ferrers refers was set by Adams and appeared in a paper taken by students on 7 January 1847.
- One could then ask if Ferrers graphs should be named "Adams Graphs".
- Not at all - Ferrers contribution was the method of solution.
- Ferrers received several honours, the most notable being election as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1877.
- By the time that he wrote to Sylvester in 1883, Ferrers had already been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for over three years.
Born 11 August 1829, Prinknash Park, Upton St Leonards, Gloucestershire, England. Died 31 January 1903, Cambridge, 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