Person: Venn, John
John Venn was an English mathematician and logician best known for the Venn diagrams which can be used to visualise the unions and intersections of sets.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The Rev Henry Venn became secretary to this Society in 1841 and in order to carry out his duties moved to Highgate near London.
- He had already become interested logic, philosophy and metaphysics, reading the treatises of De Morgan, Boole, John Austin, and John Stuart Mill.
- Venn extended Boole's mathematical logic and is best known to mathematicians and logicians for his diagrammatic way of representing sets, and their unions and intersections.
- Venn published Symbolic Logic in 1881 and The Principles of Empirical Logic in 1889.
- In 1883 Venn was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in the same year was awarded a Sc.D. by Cambridge.
- finding himself still less in sympathy with the orthodox clerical outlook, Venn availed himself of the Clerical Disabilities Act.
- Venn's interest turned towards history and he signalled this change in direction by donating his large collection of books on logic to the Cambridge University Library in 1888.
- In 1910 he published a work on historical biography, namely a treatise on John Caius, one of the founders of his College.
- At the time of Venn's death the second part, covering the period from 1751 to 1900, existed in manuscript and contained a further 60,000 names.
- Venn had other skills and interests too, including a rare skill in building machines.
- He used his skill to build a machine for bowling cricket balls which was so good that when the Australian Cricket team visited Cambridge in 1909, Venn's machine clean bowled one of its top stars four times.
Born 4 August 1834, Hull, England. Died 4 April 1923, 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