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ROBERT SIMSON (1687-1768)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 137 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT SIMSON (1687-1768)  , Scottish mathematician, the eldest son of John Simson of Kirktonhill in
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Ayrshire, was born on the 4th of
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October 1687 . He was intended for the church, but the bent of his mind was towards mathematics, and, when a prospect opened of his succeeding to the mathematical chair at the university of
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Glasgow, he p eceeded to
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London for further study . After a
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year in London he returned to Glasgow, and in 1711 was appointed by the university to the professorship of mathematics, an office which he retained until 1761 . He died on the 1st of October 1768 . Simson's contributions to mathematical knowledge took the form of critical
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editions and commentaries on the
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works of the ancient geometers . The first of his published writings is a paper in the Philosophical Transactions (1723, vol. xl. p . 330) on Euclid's Porisms (q.v.) . Then followed Sectionum conicarum libri V . (
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Edinburgh, 1735), a second edition of which, with additions, appeared in 1750 . The first three books of this
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treatise were translated into
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English, and several times printed as The Elements of the Conic Sections . In 1749 was published Apollonii Pergaei locorum planorum libri II., a restoration of
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Apollonius's lost treatise, founded on the lemmas given in the seventh
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book of Pappus's Mathematical Collection . In 1756 appeared, both in Latin and in English, the first edition of his Euclid's Elements .

This

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work, which contained only the first six and the
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eleventh and twelfth books, and to which in its English version he added the Data in 1762, was for long the standard text of Euclid in England . After his
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death restorations of Apollonius's treatise De section determinata and of Euclid's treatise De Pori tnatibus were printed for private circulation in R.-SIN 137 1776 at the expense of
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Earl Stanhope, in a
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volume with the title Roberti Simson opera quaedam reliqua . The volume contains also
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dissertations on Logarithms and on the Limits of Quantities and Ratios, and a few problems illustrative of the ancient geometrical analysis . See W . Trail,
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Life and Writings of Robert Simson (1812); C . Hutton, Mathematical and Philosophical
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Dictionary (1815) . SIMSON, WILLIAM (1800-1847), Scottish portrait, landscape and subject painter, was born at Dundee in 1800 . He studied under Andrew Wilson at the Trustees' Academy, Edinburgh, and his early pictures—landscape and marine subjects—found a ready sale . He next turned his attention to figure
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painting, producing in 1829 the " Twelfth of August," which was followed in 183o by " Sportsmen Regaling " and a " Highland Deer-stalker." In the latter year he was elected a member of the Scottish Academy; and, having acquired some means by portrait-painting, he spent three years in Italy, and on his return in 1838 settled in London, where he exhibited his " Camaldolese monk showing Relics," his " Cimabue and
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Giotto," his " Dutch
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Family," and his " Columbus and his Child " at the Convent of
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Santa Maria la Rabida . He died in London on the 29th of August 1847 . Simson is greatest as a landscapist; his " Solway Moss—Sunset," exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy of 1831 and now in the
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National Gallery, Edinburgh, ranks as one of the finest examples of the early Scottish school of landscape . His elder
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brother George (1791-1862), portrait-painter, was also a member of the Royal Scottish Academy, and his younger brother David (d .

1874) practised as a landscape-painter .

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