Person: Taylor (2), Henry
Henry Martyn Taylor was an outstanding English mathematician who lost the sight of both eyes. He devised a Braille system to allow mathematical and other scientific works to become available to the blind.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- James Taylor was born on 12 March 1810 in Dublin, Ireland.
- James Taylor matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1839 and was awarded a B.A. in 1843, being ordained a deacon in the same year.
- James Taylor gives his occupation as "Clergyman, Schoolmaster and Evening Lecturer of Parish Church".
- When Henry Taylor attended the school it had just moved to a new site in Northgate, Wakefield, a site which it continues to occupy.
- Let us note one fact; James Taylor was the nineteenth headmaster of the school, all nineteen being ordained priests.
- Henry Taylor completed his schooling in 1861, was admitted as a sizar to Trinity College, Cambridge, on 9 February 1861 and matriculated at the College beginning his study of the mathematical tripos in the Michaelmas term (October) of 1861.
- Taylor became a scholar in 1863.
- In the mathematical tripos of 1865 Taylor was third wrangler.
- It was announced that Strutt was the 1st Smith's Prizeman and Taylor was the 2nd Smith's Prizeman.
- Shortly before graduating, Taylor accepted the position of vice-principal of the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
- Taylor was offered a fellowship by Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1866, which he accepted but continued to work at the Royal School of Naval Architecture until 1869 when he was offered an Assistant Tutorship on the staff at Trinity College.
- Among the pupils that Taylor taught at the Royal School was William Henry White (1845-1913) who went on to become Chief Constructor of the Admiralty and the designer of a great many British warships.
- Taylor remained close friends with White for the rest of his life.
- While Taylor had been a scholar at Trinity College he published the paper The method of inversion and when at the Royal School of Naval Architecture, he published the paper Geometrical explanation of the equations for the longitude of the node, and the inclination of the orbit both published in the Messenger of Mathematics in 1866.
- Taylor chose to read for the Bar and was called to Lincoln's Inn in 1869.
- In 1874 Taylor became a Tutor at Trinity College.
- James Heber Taylor had been a pupil at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield, and had been awarded a Lady Betty Hastings Exhibition to Queen's College, Oxford, where he gained a first class in both classical and mathematical Moderations and a second class in Litterae Humaniores.
- In 1876 Henry Taylor published a number of papers including On the generation of a developable surface through two given curves, On a certain multiple integral, On the lines of curvature of a surface, and On the relative values of the pieces in chess.
- At the time of the 1891 census Taylor was living at the Rectory, Church Lane, Brington, Huntingdonshire.
- When decisions had been completed, the final drafting of the statutes was entrusted to three of the fellows: Prof Cayley, whose reputation as a draughtsman long survived his retirement from practice at the Bar: Rev Coutts Trotter, conspicuous for his share in the organisation of the University, especially in the domain of natural science: and H M Taylor, whose legal training proved of high value.
- Then, and for many years to come, Taylor had a prominent (if not foremost) part in giving effect to the necessary changes in the old system.
- Those statutes are now under repeal; their actual initial working owed much to the prudent wisdom of a band of reformers, among whom Taylor held a not unworthy place.
- Although as we have seen above, most of Taylor's publications were on geometry, his expertise ranged over a wide range of mathematics and he displayed this expertise in helping his friends.
- Horace Lamb had been tutored by Taylor at Trinity College and the two remained close friends throughout Taylor's life.
- We also note that Lamb's admiration for Taylor led to him naming his third son, born in 1883, Henry Taylor Lamb.
- In the late 1880s Taylor began working on an edition of Euclid's Elements and Cambridge University Press began publishing it in separate volumes.
- Taylor continued to work on producing editions of further of Euclid's Books but tragedy struck him around the time he left his lectureship at Trinity College in 1894, when he rapidly lost the sight of both of his eyes.
- Although it is always a little difficult to know precisely what medical conditions afflicted people in past times, it would appear that Taylor suffered from detached retinas, a condition which causes total blindness.
- With much assistance from those around him, Taylor tried to carry on with mathematical research, something which he had always hoped to be able to spend more time on when retired from his lectureship.
- In 1898, four years after he became blind, Taylor was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.
- Cambridge Borough Council had on it representatives of Cambridge University and Taylor served on the Borough Council in that capacity.
Born 6 June 1842, Bristol, England. Died 16 October 1927, Cambridge, England.
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