Famous 19th Century British Mathematicians

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 1 
Ada Lovelace
(Countess of Lovelace)
Ada Lovelace
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Birthdate: December 10, 1815
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: November 27, 1852

Ada Lovelace was a mathematician known for her work on the Analytical Engine, a mechanical general-purpose computer proposed by Charles Babbage. Many believe that Lovelace was the first to recognize the potential of computers. It is also believed that she published the first algorithm after realizing that the algorithm could be carried out by a machine like the Analytical Engine.

 2 
Bertrand Russell
(Philosopher)
Bertrand Russell
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Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

 3 
George Boole
(Mathematician, Philosopher, and Logician Best Known as the Author of ‘The Laws of Thought’)
George Boole
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Birthdate: November 2, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Died: December 8, 1864

George Boole is remembered for pioneering Boolean algebra, a tool used in digital computer circuits. More of a self-taught mathematician, Boole began teaching at 16 and later grew up to be a math professor at Queen’s College, Cork. His work in differential equations and algebraic logic was groundbreaking.

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 4 
G. H. Hardy
(Mathematician)
G. H. Hardy
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Birthdate: February 7, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cranleigh, England
Died: December 1, 1947

English mathematician G. H. Hardy is best recognised for his work and achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis, and also as mentor of distinguished Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. He is noted for his essay on mathematics titled A Mathematician's Apology. He also made his mark in biology formulating a basic principle of population genetics called Hardy–Weinberg principle.  

 5 
Lord Kelvin
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Lord Kelvin
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Birthdate: June 26, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: December 17, 1907

Lord Kelvin was a British mathematical physicist and engineer. He studied at the Glasgow University and proceeded to teach there as well. Besides his academic career, he also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1883. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honor.

 6 
Arthur Cayley
(Mathematician)
Arthur Cayley
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Birthdate: August 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richmond, Surrey, UK
Died: January 26, 1895
 7 
Arthur Eddington
(Astronomer)
Arthur Eddington
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Birthdate: December 28, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kendal
Died: November 22, 1944

Arthur Eddington was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous articles that explained Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world. He began his career in academics and eventually shifted to astronomy, becoming the chief assistant to the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. He was a recipient of the Henry Draper Medal. 

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 8 
Alfred North Whitehead
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Alfred North Whitehead
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Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died: December 30, 1947

Alfred North Whitehead was a British mathematician and philosopher, best known for his collaboration with his student Bertrand Russell on Principal of Mathematics, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics. Also known for his pioneering works on process philosophy and metaphysics, he is credited with developing a comprehensive metaphysical system that differs from most Western philosophies.

 9 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)
Mary Somerville
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Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 10 
John Herschel
(British Polymath Known for His Invention of 'Blueprint')
John Herschel
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Birthdate: March 7, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Slough, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: May 11, 1871

The son of renowned astronomer William Herschel, John Herschel was educated at Eton and Cambridge and grew up to be a polymath. Apart from contributing to the field of photography, he was known for cataloguing and naming stars and satellites. He briefly also served as the Master of the Royal Mint.

 11 
Oliver Heaviside
(Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy)
Oliver Heaviside
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Birthdate: May 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camden Town
Died: February 3, 1925

Oliver Heaviside was an English mathematician and physicist. He invented a new technique for solving differential equations and independently developed vector calculus. He is also credited with rewriting Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. He formulated the telegrapher’s equations and invented the Heaviside step function as well. In 1922, he received the Faraday Medal.

 12 
John Edensor Littlewood
(Mathematician, University teacher)
John Edensor Littlewood
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Birthdate: June 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: September 6, 1977
 13 
John Venn
(Mathematician)
John Venn
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Birthdate: August 4, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: April 4, 1923
 14 
Karl Pearson
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)
Karl Pearson
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Birthdate: March 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 27, 1936

One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.

 15 
William Henry Bragg
(Physicist and Mathematician Who Invented the ‘X-Ray’ Spectrometer)
William Henry Bragg
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Birthdate: July 2, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wigton, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 12, 1942

William Henry Bragg was an English physicist, chemist, and mathematician. He is best known for sharing the  1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his son Lawrence Bragg for their work in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. William Henry Bragg had an illustrious academic career and was elected president of the Royal Society in 1935. 

 16 
George Green
(Mathematician)
George Green
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Birthdate: July 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: May 31, 1841

With one year of formal schooling, George Green was entirely self-taught until the age of forty, when he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. By then, he had published his first book, propagating what are now known as Green’s theorem and Green’s functions. A fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, he also established Green's identities, Green's law, and Green's matrix.

 17 
William Kingdon Clifford
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Birthdate: May 4, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Exeter, England
Died: March 3, 1879
 18 
George Biddell Airy
(British Mathematician and Astronomer)
George Biddell Airy
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Birthdate: July 27, 1801
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Alnwick, Northumberland, England
Died: January 2, 1892
English astronomer George Biddell Airy is best known for locating Greenwich as the prime meridian. He was ripped apart by critics for allegedly failing to help British astronomer John Couch Adams to discover Neptune. The Astronomer Royal was also the first to cure astigmatism by using cylindrical lenses.
 19 
George Darwin
(British Barrister, Astronomer and the Second Son of Naturalist Charles Darwin)
George Darwin
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Birthdate: July 9, 1845
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Down House, Downe, Kent, England
Died: December 7, 1912

Born to legendary biologist Charles Darwin, George Darwin initially studied law and became a barrister. However, his interest in science made him deviate to astronomy. He believed the Moon was one part of the Earth. He later also taught at Cambridge and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 20 
James Joseph Sylvester
(Former Mathematician who made fundamental contributions to matrix theory, invariant theory, number theory, partition theory, and combinatorics)
James Joseph Sylvester
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Birthdate: September 3, 1814
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 15, 1897
 21 
Mary Everest Boole
(mathematician, philosopher)
Mary Everest Boole
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Birthdate: 1832 AD
Birthplace: Wickwar
Died: 1916 AD
 22 
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
(Economist, Statistician, Lawyer, Mathematician)
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
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Birthdate: February 8, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Longford
Died: February 13, 1926

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish economist and statistician, known for his significant contributions to the methods of statistics. An autodidact in mathematics and economics, he imaginatively applied mathematics to the fields of economics and statistics, writing several books, including Mathematical Psychics, presenting new ideas on various topics like on the generalized utility function, the indifference curve etc.  .

 23 
John Couch Adams
(Mathematician, Astronomer, University teacher)
John Couch Adams
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Birthdate: June 5, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laneast
Died: January 21, 1892
 24 
E. T. Whittaker
(Mathematician)
E. T. Whittaker
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Birthdate: October 24, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southport, England
Died: March 24, 1956
 25 
James Jeans
(Physicist)
James Jeans
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Birthdate: September 11, 1877
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 16, 1946

James Jeans was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician who made great contributions to the areas of quantum theory, the theory of radiation, and stellar evolution. Along with Arthur Eddington, Jeans is a founder of British cosmology. He spent his academic career at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Princeton University. He received the Royal Medal in 1919. 

 26 
Lewis Fry Richardson
(Former Mathematician, physicist, meteorologist noted for his pioneering work concerning fractals and a method for solving a system of linear equations known as modified Richardson iteration)
Lewis Fry Richardson
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Birthdate: October 11, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Died: September 30, 1953

British physicist, meteorologist, mathematician, psychologist and pacifist Lewis Fry Richardson was the first to apply modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting to predict weather accurately. He also pioneered the use of similar methods in studying reasons of wars and the way to stop them. He proposed the iterative method called modified Richardson iteration for solving a system of linear equations.

 27 
Hertha Ayrton
(Engineer)
Hertha Ayrton
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Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea Island, England
Died: August 26, 1923

Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer,  physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist. 

 28 
Charles Howard Hinton
(Mathematician, writer, science fiction writer)
Charles Howard Hinton
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Birthdate: 1853 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: April 30, 1907
 29 
Eric Temple Bell
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Novelist, Writer, Science fiction writer)
Eric Temple Bell
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Birthdate: February 7, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Peterhead
Died: December 21, 1960

Born to a Scottish factor, mathematician Eric Temple Bell spent most of his life in the U.S. The Stanford alumnus contributed to the analytic number theory and also taught math at institutes such as Caltech. He also penned sci-fi novels such as The Time Stream as John Taine.

 30 
Dugald Stewart
(Philosopher)
Dugald Stewart
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Birthdate: November 22, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh,Scotland
Died: June 11, 1828

Dugald Stewart was a Scottish mathematician and philosopher best remembered for his efforts to popularize the works of Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson. Considered one of the most prominent personalities of the Scottish Enlightenment, Stewart played a major role in explaining the Scottish Common Sense Realism. Among his students were Sir Walter Scott, Sir Archibald Alison, and Sir James Mackintosh. 

 31 
Harold Jeffreys
(Mathematical statistician)
Harold Jeffreys
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Birthdate: April 22, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fatfield, Washington, England
Died: March 18, 1989
G. S. Carr
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 33 
Horace Lamb
(Mathematician)
Horace Lamb
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Birthdate: November 27, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, England
Died: December 4, 1934
 34 
John Playfair
(Mathematician)
John Playfair
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Birthdate: March 10, 1748
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Angus council, United Kingdom
Died: July 20, 1819
 35 
William George Horner
(Mathematician)
William George Horner
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Birthdate: June 9, 1786
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: September 22, 1837
 36 
Douglas Hartree
(Mathematician)
Douglas Hartree
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Birthdate: March 27, 1897
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: February 12, 1958
Arthur Schuster
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Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope
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Birthdate: August 3, 1753
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 15, 1816
 39 
Sydney Chapman
(Mathematician)
Sydney Chapman
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Birthdate: January 29, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eccles, England
Died: June 16, 1970
 40 
Edward Arthur Milne
(Astrophysicist)
Edward Arthur Milne
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Birthdate: February 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: September 21, 1950

British astrophysicist and cosmologist Edward Arthur Milne was a brilliant student and a Cambridge scholar. Remembered for his work on kinematic relativity, he introduced the Milne model, too. He applied the Saha equation in his studies on the spectral lines of stars and also lectured on Christianity.

 41 
Augustus Edward Hough Love
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Birthdate: April 17, 1863
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weston-super-Mare, England
Died: June 5, 1940
 42 
Udny Yule
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Udny Yule was an English statistician best remembered for discovering the Yule distribution, a discrete probability distribution. A prolific writer, Yule wrote several books, including Introduction to the Theory of Statistics which has been used as a textbook. Yule is also remembered for his association with the Royal Statistical Society, where he served as the president from 1924 to 1926.

John Colenso
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Birthdate: January 24, 1814
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: June 20, 1883
 44 
Peter Barlow
(Mathematician)
Peter Barlow
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Birthdate: October 13, 1776
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Norwich, England
Died: March 1, 1862
 45 
Alexander John Ellis
(Mathematician)
Alexander John Ellis
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Birthdate: June 14, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hoxton, Middlesex, England
Died: October 28, 1890
 46 
Henry John Stephen Smith
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Birthdate: November 2, 1826
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 9, 1883
 47 
Ernest Barnes
(Mathematician)
Ernest Barnes
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Birthdate: April 1, 1874
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: November 29, 1953
 48 
Ernest William Brown
(Mathematician)
Ernest William Brown
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Birthdate: November 29, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hull, England
Died: July 22, 1938
 49 
Andrew Forsyth
(Mathematician)
Andrew Forsyth
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Birthdate: June 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: June 2, 1942
 50 
James MacCullagh
(Mathematician)
James MacCullagh
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Birthdate: 1809 AD
Birthplace: Landahaussy, Northern Ireland
Died: October 24, 1847
Find out more about the greatest 19th Century British Mathematicians, including George Boole, Ada Lovelace, James Clerk Maxwell, Bertrand Russell and Lewis Carroll.