James Ivory (mathematician) | Wikipedia audio article


James Ivory, FRS FRSE KH LLD (17 February
1765 – 21 September 1842) was a British mathematician. He was creator of Ivory’s Theorem.==Life==
Ivory was born in Dundee, son of James Ivory the renowned watchmaker. The family lived and worked on the High Street
in Dundee.He was educated at Dundee Grammar School. In 1779 he entered the University of St Andrews,
distinguishing himself especially in mathematics. He then studied theology; but, after two sessions
at St Andrews and one at Edinburgh University, he abandoned all idea of the church, and in
1786 he became an assistant-teacher of mathematics and natural philosophy in the newly established
Dundee Academy. Three years later he became partner in, and
manager of, a flax spinning company at Douglastown in Forfarshire, still prosecuting in moments
of leisure his favourite studies. He was essentially a self-trained mathematician,
and was not only deeply versed in ancient and modern geometry, but also had a full knowledge
of the analytical methods and discoveries of the continental mathematicians. His earliest memoir, dealing with an analytical
expression for the rectification of the ellipse, is published in the Transactions of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh (1796); and this and his later papers on Cubic Equations (1799)
and Kepler’s Problem (1802) evince great facility in the handling of algebraic formulae. In 1804 after the dissolution of the flax-spinning
company of which he was manager, he obtained one of the mathematical chairs in the Royal
Military College, Great Marlow (afterwards removed to Sandhurst); and until the year
1816, when failing health obliged him to resign, he discharged his professional duties with
remarkable success. During this period he published in the Philosophical
Transactions several important memoirs, which earned for him the Copley Medal in 1814 and
ensured his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1815. Of special importance in the history of attractions
is the first of these earlier memoirs (Phil. Trans., 1809), in which the problem of the
attraction of a homogeneous ellipsoid upon an external point is reduced to the simpler
case of the attraction of another but related ellipsoid upon a corresponding point interior
to it. This theorem is known as Ivory’s theorem. He also published anonymously an edition of
Euclid’s Elements, which was described as having brought the difficult problems “more
within the reach of ordinary understandings.” His later papers in the Philosophical Transactions
treat of astronomical refractions, of planetary perturbations, of equilibrium of fluid masses,
etc. For his investigations in the first named
of these he received a royal medal in 1826 and again in 1839. In 1831, on the recommendation of Lord Brougham,
King William IV granted him a pension of £300 per annum, and appointed him Knight of the
Royal Guelphic Order, but was not subsequently made a knight bachelor to entitle him to the
prefix Sir, which often came with appointments to that order. Besides being directly connected with the
chief scientific societies of his own country, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal
Irish Academy, etc., he was corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sciences both
of Paris and Berlin, and of the Royal Society of Göttingen. In 1839, the University of St. Andrews conferred
on him an honorary degree as a Doctor of Laws (LLD).He died in Hampstead in north London
on 21 September 1842

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