Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T

Simpson, Thomas

simpson’s weaving finding mathematics

(1710–61) British mathematician: contributed to calculus.

Simpson’s life involved a series of strange episodes, but his total contribution to 18th-c mathematics is substantial. Growing up in the weaving trade in the Midlands, he married at 20 a widow of 40 (who outlived him, and drew a Crown pension for his work until her death at 102). After seeing a solar eclipse Simpson became obsessed by astrology and soon acquired some local good reputation in it, but this changed when he ‘raised a devil’ from a girl who then had fits, and the Simpsons left the area hurriedly. In London he combined weaving and mathematics, and his reputation in the latter secured him the professorship at Woolwich in 1743 and fellowship of the Royal Society in 1745. He was also editor of The Ladies Diary . He wrote on calculus, probability, statistics, geometry and algebra, but his most enduring result is the method for finding the area under a curve known as Simpson’s rule. The result is exact if the curve is parabolic, and can be used as a close approximation in other cases. He also devised a method for finding the volume of any solid bounded by planes, if two of them are parallel.

Sinclair, Madge (1938–1995) [next] [back] Simpson, O. J. (1949–)

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or