Person: Muir, Thomas
Thomas Muir was a Scot who went on to be Superintendent General of Education in South Africa and is best known for his five volume History of Determinants.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- George was a shoemaker in Biggar and it was in that town, about 15km from the town of Thomas's birth, that Thomas was brought up.
- Thomas entered the University of Glasgow intending to study his favourite subject of Greek.
- Muir spent three years lecturing on mathematics at Glasgow University and quickly gained a reputation as a fine teacher.
- The Edinburgh Mathematical Society was founded in 1883 and in the following year Muir was elected as president.
- Also in 1890 Muir was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, then two years later he went to the Cape, South Africa, as Superintendent General of Education.
- Muir was appointed to this position by Cecil Rhodes, then prime minister of Cape Colony, while Rhodes was visiting England.
- Muir was at the time deciding whether to accept an offer of the Chair of Mathematics from Stanford University in California.
- There was another reason why accepting a post in South Africa was attractive to Muir.
- In 1897 Muir was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of the Cape; he held this post for four years.
- Muir received several awards from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
- Muir was knighted in 1910, four years after he had reworked his 1890 publication to become Volume 1 of History of determinants which covered the origins to Leibniz in 1840.
- Muir was working on Volume 6 1920-1940 at the time of his death.
- In 1930, at the age of 86, Muir published Contributions to the history of determinants.
- It is worth thinking exactly what Muir was attempting here.
Born 25 August 1844, Stonebyres, Falls of Clyde, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 21 March 1934, Rondebosch, South Africa.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
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