Maclaurin, Colin


Maclaurin, Colin

▪ Scottish mathematician
born February 1698, Kilmodan, Argyllshire, Scotland
died June 14, 1746, Edinburgh
 Scottish mathematician who developed and extended Sir Isaac Newton (Newton, Sir Isaac)'s work in calculus, geometry, and gravitation.

      A child prodigy, he entered the University of Glasgow at age 11. At the age of 19 he was elected a professor of mathematics at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and two years later he became a fellow of the Royal Society of London. At this time he became acquainted with Newton. In his first work, Geometrica Organica; Sive Descriptio Linearum Curvarum Universalis (1720; “Organic Geometry, with the Description of the Universal Linear Curves”), Maclaurin developed several theorems similar to some in Newton's Principia, introduced the method of generating conic sections (conic section) (the circle, ellipse, hyperbola, and parabola) that bears his name, and showed that certain types of curves (of the third and fourth degree) can be described by the intersection of two movable angles.

      On the recommendation of Newton, he was made a professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh in 1725. In 1740 he shared, with the Swiss mathematicians Leonhard Euler (Euler, Leonhard) and Daniel Bernoulli (Bernoulli, Daniel), the prize offered by the French Academy of Sciences (Sciences, Academy of) for an essay on tides.

      His two-volume Treatise of Fluxions (1742), a defense of the Newtonian method, was written in reply to criticisms by Bishop George Berkeley (Berkeley, George) of England that Newton's calculus was based on faulty reasoning. Apart from providing a geometric framework for Newton's method of fluxions, the treatise is notable on several counts. It contains solutions to a number of geometric problems, shows that stable figures for a homogeneous rotating fluid mass are the ellipsoids (ellipsoid) of revolution, and gives for the first time the correct theory for distinguishing between maxima and minima in general (see calculus of variations), pointing out the importance of the distinction in the theory of the multiple points of curves. It also contains a detailed discussion of infinite series, including the special case of Taylor series now named in his honour.

      In 1745, when Jacobites (Jacobite) (supporters of the Stuart king James II and his descendants) were marching on Edinburgh, Maclaurin took a prominent part in preparing trenches and barricades for the city's defense. As soon as the rebel army captured Edinburgh, Maclaurin fled to England until it was safe to return. The ordeal of his escape ruined his health, and he died at age 48.

      Maclaurin's Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophical Discoveries was published posthumously, as was his Treatise of Algebra (1748). “De Linearum Geometricarum Proprietatibus Generalibus Tractatus” (“A Tract on the General Properties of Geometrical Lines”), noted for its elegant geometric demonstrations, was appended to his Algebra.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Maclaurin , Colin — (1698–1746) Scottish mathematician Maclaurin, who was born at Kilmoden in Scotland, was a child prodigy. He entered Glasgow University at the age of 11 and became professor of mathematics at Marischal College, Aberdeen, at the age of 19. His… …   Scientists

  • MACLAURIN, COLIN —    mathematician, born in Kilmoden, Argyllshire; was professor of Mathematics in Aberdeen and in Edinburgh; wrote a Treatise on Fluxions, in defence of Newton against Berkeley, and an Account of Newton s Discoveries ; did much to give an impetus… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Colin Maclaurin — (1698–1746) Born February, 1698 …   Wikipedia

  • Colin MacLaurin — Naissance Février 1698 Kilmodan (Écosse) Décès 14 juin 1746 Édimbourg (Écosse) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Colin MacLaurin — (* Februar 1698 in Kilmodan; † 14. Juni 1746 in Edinburgh) war ein schottischer Mathematiker. Maclaurin wurde mit 19 Jahren Professor in Aberdeen und ab 1726 in Edinburgh. Er verfasste 1742 sein wichtigstes Werk A treatise of fluxions und war… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Colin Maclaurin — (* Februar 1698 in Kilmodan, Argyllshire, Schottland; † 14. Juni 1746 in Edinburgh) war ein schottischer Mathematiker. Maclaurin war der Sohn des Pfarrers in dem Dorf Kilmoden am Fluss Ruel. Sein Vater starb, als er sechs Wochen alt war und die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Maclaurin — Colin Maclaurin Colin Maclaurin (* Februar 1698 in Kilmodan; † 14. Juni 1746 in Edinburgh) war ein schottischer Mathematiker. Maclaurin wurde mit 19 Jahren Professor in Aberdeen und ab 1726 in Edinburgh. Er verfasste 1742 sein wichtigstes Werk A… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MACLAURIN (C.) — MACLAURIN COLIN (1698 1746) Mathématicien écossais, né à Kilmodan, qui a développé et poursuivi l’œuvre de sir Isaac Newton en analyse, en géométrie et en mécanique. Enfant prodige, Colin Maclaurin entra à l’université de Glasgow à l’âge de onze… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Colin Maclaurin — Colin Maclaurin. Colin MacLaurin (Kilmodan, febrero de 1698 Edimburgo, 14 de junio de 1746)[1] fue un matemático escocés. Hijo de un ministro de parroquia en Argyll (Esco …   Wikipedia Español

  • Maclaurin — or MacLaurin (with a capital L ) may refer to:People with the surname Maclaurin: * Colin Maclaurin (1698–1746), Scottish mathematician * Normand MacLaurin (1835–1914), Australian politician and university administrator * Henry Normand MacLaurin… …   Wikipedia


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