Person: Gibbs, Josiah Willard
J Willard Gibbs was an American mathematician bestknown for the Gibbs effect seen when Fourieranalysing a discontinuous function.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
 Gibbs was educated at the local Hopkins Grammar School where he was described as friendly but withdrawn.
 Remaining at Yale, Gibbs began to undertake research in engineering, writing a thesis in which he used geometrical methods to study the design of gears.
 From 1866 to 1869 Gibbs studied in Europe.
 Gibbs returned to Yale in June 1869 and, two years later in 1871, he was appointed professor of mathematical physics at Yale.
 Perhaps it is also surprising that Gibbs did not publish his first work until 1873 when he was 34 years old.
 Few scientists who produce such innovative work as Gibbs did are 34 years of age before producing signs of their genius.
 Gibbs' important 1873 papers were Graphical Methods in the Thermodynamics of Fluids and A Method of Geometrical Representation of the Thermodynamic Properties of Substances by Means of Surfaces.
 In 1876 Gibbs published the first part of the work for which he is most famous On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances, publishing the second part of this work in 1878.
 The second paper extended the diagrams into three dimensions and this work impressed Maxwell so much that he constructed a three dimensional model of Gibbs's thermodynamic surface and, shortly before his death, sent the model to Gibbs.
 Gibbs' work on vector analysis was also of major importance in pure mathematics.
 Using ideas of Grassmann, Gibbs produced a system much more easily applied to physics than that of Hamilton.
 A series of five papers by Gibbs on the electromagnetic theory of light were published between 1882 and 1889.
 Gibbs was highly esteemed by his friends, but U.S. science was too preoccupied with practical questions to make much use of his profound theoretical work during his lifetime.
 The American Mathematical Society named a lecture series in honour of Gibbs.
Born 11 February 1839, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Died 28 April 1903, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
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References
Adapted from other CC BYSA 4.0 Sources:
 Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive