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  • 11/23/2004

Isaac Todhunter


November 23,1820 -March 1,1884)

Isaac Todhunter,Englishmathematician, son of George Todhunter, aNonconformist minister, was born atRye.

He was educated atHastings, at which town his mother had opened a school after the death of his father in 1826. He became an assistant master at a school at Peckham, attending at the same time evening classes at theUniversity College, London. In1842 he obtained a mathematical scholarship and graduated as B.A. at London University, and was awarded the gold medal on the M.A. examination. About this time he became mathematical master at a school atWimbledon.

In 1844 he enteredSt John's College, Cambridge, where he wassenior wrangler in 1848, and gained the first Smith's prize and the Burney prize; and in 1849 he was elected to a fellowship, and began his life of college lecturer and private tutor. In 1862 he was made a fellow of theRoyal Society, and in 1865 a member of the Mathematical Society of London. In 1871 he gained theAdams prize and was elected to the council of the Royal Society. He was elected honorary fellow ofSt John's in 1874, having resigned his fellowship on his marriage in 1864. In 1880 his eyesight began to fail, and shortly afterwards he was attacked with paralysis.


Treatise on the Differential Calculus and the Elements of the Integral Calculus (1852, 6th ed., 1873)

Treatise on Analytical Statics (1853, 4th ed., 1874)

Treatise on the Integral Calculus (1857, 4th ed., 1874)

Treatise on Algebra (1858, 6th ed., 1871)

Treatise on Plane Coordinate Geometry (1858, 3rd ed., 1861)

Plane Trigonometry (1859, 4th ed., 1869)

Spherical Trigonometry (1859)

History of the Calculus of Variations (1861)

Theory of Equations (1861, 2nd ed. 1875)

Examples of Analytical Geometry of Three Dimensions (1858, 3rd ed., 1873)

Mechanics (1867)

History of the Mathematical Theory of Probability from the Time of Pascal to that of Lagrange (1865)

Researches in the Calculus of Variations (1871)

History of the Mathematical Theories of Attraction and Figure of the Earth fromNewton to Laplace (1873)

Elementary Treatise onLaplace's, Lame's and Bessel's Functions (1875)

Natural Philosophy for Beginners (1877). An unfinished work,The History of the Theory of Elasticity, was edited and published posthumously in 1886 by Karl Pearson. Todhunter also published keys to the problems in his textbooks onalgebra andtrigonometry; and a biographical work,William Whewell, account of his writings and correspondence (1876), in addition to many original papers in scientific journals.

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