Person: Macmahon, Percy Alexander
Percy MacMahon was a Maltese-born mathematician who worked in number theory and combinatorics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- MacMahon was educated at a school in Cheltenham and was always destined for a military career.
- MacMahon was a candidate to fill the vacant Savilian Chair, as was Esson, and after Esson was appointed MacMahon wrote to Sir Joseph Larmor expressing his feelings at losing out to Esson.
- One would have to say that MacMahon was fully justified in feeling aggrieved at losing out to Esson.
- Before he was a candidate for the Savilian Chair of Geometry, MacMahon had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1890.
- It was Alfred George Greenhill who taught MacMahon at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and Greenhill's interests at that time had a large influence on MacMahon's early work.
- In 1884 MacMahon calculated a table of values based on Greenhill's model.
- MacMahon then worked on invariants of binary quartic forms, following Cayley and Sylvester.
- This study of symmetric functions led MacMahon to study partitions and Latin squares, and for many years he was considered the leading worker in this area.
- MacMahon wrote a two volume treatise Combinatory analysis (volume one in 1915 and the second volume in the following year) which has become a classic.
- This book shows another of the topics which fascinated MacMahon, namely the construction of patterns which can be repeated to fill the plane.
- MacMahon was well respected in his day.
- MacMahon received many honours.
Born 26 September 1854, Sliema, Malta. Died 25 December 1929, Bognor-Regis, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Malta, Puzzles And Problems
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive