From the High Seas to Life Insurance: The Mathematics of Nathaniel Bowditch

Item

Title

From the High Seas to Life Insurance: The Mathematics of Nathaniel Bowditch

Description

Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) was an American mathematician who pulled himself out of a life of poverty through self-education. Fulfilling an early passion for mathematics, he taught himself advanced topics by reading the works of the masters; he learned Latin, French, and German on his own to read mathematical texts. He became an influential mathematician, influencing future generations of research mathematicians. Bowditch corrected the mathematical tables of existing navigational references and the mathematical work of such luminaries as Newton and Laplace. In this talk we discuss how Bowditch was influenced by predecessors and in turn influenced future generations. He explained mathematics in a way accessible to all, inspiring American navigators and educators, as well as earning the respect of contemporaries, including Thomas Jefferson. Our purpose is to reveal that the mathematical work of early eighteenth century Americans, particularly Bowditch, was at a higher level than many believe.
Dick Jardine

Contributor

Keene State College

Creator

Maureen Moran

Date

2015-04-11

Identifier

http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12088/7608

Language

en_US

Subject

Mathematics

Type

Presentation

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/

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