Thomas Muir (mathematician) | Wikipedia audio article


Sir Thomas Muir (25 August 1844 – 21 March
1934) was a Scottish mathematician, remembered as an authority on determinants.==Life==
He was born in Stonebyres in South Lanarkshire, and brought up in the small town of Biggar. He was educated at Wishaw Public School. At the University of Glasgow he changed his
studies from classics to mathematics after advice from the future Lord Kelvin. After graduating he held positions at the
University of St Andrews and the University of Glasgow. From 1874 to 1892 he taught at Glasgow High
School. In 1882 he published Treatise on the theory
of determinants; then in 1890 he published a History of determinants. In his 1882 work, Muir rediscovered an important
lemma that was first proved by Cayley 35 years earlier: In Glasgow he lived at Beechcroft
in the Bothwell district.If B is a skew symmetric matrix, then its determinant is equal to the
square of its Pfaffian: det
( B )
=pf 2 ⁡
( B ) {\displaystyle \det(\mathbf {B} )=\operatorname
{pf} ^{2}(\mathbf {B} )\,} In 1874 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, His proposers were William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, Hugh Blackburn, Philip
Kelland and Peter Guthrie Tait. He won the Society’s Keith Prize for 1881-1883
and a second time in 1895-1897. He served as the Society’s Vice President
1888 to 1891. He won the Gunning Victoria Jubilee Prize
for 1912 to 1916.From 1892 to 1915 he was in South Africa as Superintendent General
of Education, and also working at the University of the Cape. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
of Edinburgh and in 1900 a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was installed Companion of the Order of
St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1901 and knighted by King George V in the 1915 Birthday
Honours. From 1906 onwards he published a five-volume
expansion of his history of determinants, the final part (1929) taking the theory to
1920. A further book followed in 1930. He died on 21 March 1934 in Rondebosch in
South Africa. His name now attaches to a duality theorem
on relations between minors. In more abstract language, it is a general
result on the equations defining Grassmannians as algebraic varieties.==Family==
In 1876 he married Margaret Bell.==Publications by Sir Thomas Muir==
The Theory of the Determinant in the Historical Order of Development. 4 vols. New York: Dover Publications 1960
A Treatise on the Theory of Determinants. Revised and Enlarged by William H. Metzler. New York: Dover Publications 1960
“A Second Budget of Exercises on Determinants”, American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 31, No.
6. (June, 1924), pp. 264–274
“Note on the Transformation of a Determinant into any Other Equivalent Determinant”, The
Analyst, Vol. 10, No. 1. (Jan 1883), pp. 8–9
A History of Determinants (1929

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