Person: Sprague, Thomas Bond
Thomas Bond Sprague became the most important actuary of the late 19th Century. He wrote more than 100 papers.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Thomas Bond Sprague had six younger siblings: Mary (born about 1831), William (born about 1833), Robert (born about 1834), John (born about 1835), Frances (born about 1837) and Caroline (born about 1839).
- Dr Sprague was the main person behind a mortality study covering the experience of twenty U.
- Dr Sprague was one of the foremost advocates of the principle of 'Freedom with Publicity' (i.e. documents available to the public) and was opposed to there being any Government regulation prescribing the manner of valuation of policy liabilities.
- Dr Sprague published some eighty papers in the Journal of the Institute of Actuaries and, including articles, Presidential Addresses, translations, comments and reviews for this and other actuarial journals (Transactions of the Faculty of Actuaries, Transactions of the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh), his published contributions to actuarial science must number over one hundred.
- The year before Sprague, in 1852, the Senior Wrangler and First Smith's Prizeman had been P G Tait (as well as the Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University and the founder of the mathematical theory of knots, Tait was a director of the Scottish Provident Institution, a life insurance company in Edinburgh) and the year after, in 1854, the world-famous physicist, Clerk Maxwell had been second Wrangler (Routh being the Senior), the two Smith's Prizes of 1854 being shared equally between these two eminent men.
- Dr Sprague qualified as a barrister prior to becoming an actuary and knew both Tait and Maxwell.
- Dr Sprague was the only person to have been President of both the Institute of Actuaries (1882-86) in London and the Faculty of Actuaries (1894-96) in Edinburgh.
- Dr Sprague was the actuary to the Equity and Law life insurance company from 1861-1873 when he was appointed to be Chief Executive (1873-1900) of the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society in Edinburgh (not to be confused with the Equitable Life Assurance Society in London) retiring from business life at age 70.
- His son, Alfred Ernest Sprague, MA, DSc, FFA, FIA was also President of the Faculty of Actuaries from 1919-21.
Born 29 March 1830, London, England. Died 29 November 1920, Edinburgh, Scotland.
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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