Celebrating 350 years of mathematicians in Greenwich


A free book launch next week will explore the well-known characters and the more obscure figures who are part of the story of mathematics at Greenwich

The contributions and achievements of mathematicians in Greenwich over the last 350 years will be celebrated at a book launch at the University of Greenwich next Wednesday.

'Mathematics and the Meridian: The History of Mathematics at Greenwich', presents an account of the astronomical work and scientific computing at the Royal Observatory (founded in 1675) and later at the Nautical Almanac Office.

It covers the mathematicians who worked at the Royal Naval College, which came to Greenwich in the 1870s, and the Royal Hospital School.

The book also introduces important Astronomer Royals, such as John Flamsteed, who fought with Isaac Newton over the publication of his data; Nevil Maskelyne, who played a key role in the solution of the Longitude problem for navigation at sea; and George Biddell Airy and his role in the controversy over Charles Babbage's mechanical calculating devices.

It shows how mathematicians at Greenwich over more than three centuries have made major contributions to the development of numerical mathematics – a subject which remains at the heart of much present-day research at the University.

At the launch event, editor Tony Mann, who is also Director of the Greenwich Maths Centre, will give a short talk about some of the people who feature in the mathematical history of Greenwich.

Mr Mann said: "'Mathematics and the Meridian: The History of Mathematics at Greenwich' aims to present a panorama of Greenwich mathematics over the centuries. While it features some well-known characters, we also uncovered fascinating information about some of the more obscure figures who are part of the story of mathematics at Greenwich." 

The launch will take place on Wednesday 27 November, from 6.00 – 7.30 pm in room 315, King William Building Room, on the University's Greenwich campus.

Book now to attend this free event.