Person: Macdonald, William James
William James Macdonald was a Scottish school teacher who was a pioneer of the introduction of modern geometry to the mathematical curriculum.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The school had grown rapidly after its foundation and when Macdonald attended the number of pupils there was many times the number of students at the University in St Andrews.
- Macdonald was dux of Madras College in 1868.
- After completing his school education, Macdonald entered the University of St Andrews, giving the Latin version of his name "Gulielmus Jacobus Macdonald" when he matriculated.
- Macdonald showed his outstanding abilities by gaining prizes in almost all the classes he took.
- After graduating, Macdonald was appointed as an assistant in the Mathematics Department in Madras College.
- Macdonald also acted as an external examiner in mathematics for the University of St Andrews for two periods of three years.
- However, Macdonald respectfully declined the honour.
- He was proposed by William Swan, John Sturgeon Mackay, George Chrystal, and Sir Thomas Muir.
- Macdonald was a founder member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, joining at the first meeting of the Society in February 1883.
- Examples of papers Macdonald read to the Society are: An account of Pascal's "Essais pour les Coniques" (Friday 14 March 1884); A proof of a geometrical theorem (Friday 11 February 1887); and A Suggestion for Improvement of Mathematical Tables (Friday 8 March 1895).
- William James Macdonald, in his 91st year, late mathematical master, Daniel Stewart's College.
Born 14 December 1851, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Died 29 December 1941, Edinburgh, Scotland.
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