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Colin Maclaurin

Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician, born in February of 1698 in Kilmodan, Argyllshire[?], Scotland. He attended the University of Glasgow at age eleven (not unusual back then) and graduated at age fourteen. After graduation he remained at Glasgow to study divinity for a period and in 1717, at age nineteen, he became professor of mathematics at Marischal College in the University of Aberdeen.

In 1725 he was appointed deputy of the mathematical professor at Edinburgh, James Gregory (nephew of the famous James Gregory), upon the recommendation of Isaac Newton, who actually offered to pay Maclaurin's salary, being so impressed with his work. Eventually, Maclaurin went on to succeed Gregory.

(An interesting aside, the Maclaurin series for many trigonometric functions was developed and published by James Gregory before Maclaurin was even born, but Maclaurin wasn't aware of this and published them in Methodus incrementorum directa et inversa.)

In 1733 he married Married Anne Stewart, the daughter of the Solicitor General of Scotland.

He actively opposed the Young Pretender of the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 and assisted in the defence of Edinburgh but had to flee to York upon the approach of the Highlanders. He then returned after the Jacobite army marched south, but all this running around exhausted him and he got sick and died on June 14, 1746.

Some of his important works:

Geometria Organica[?] - 1720
De Linearum Geometricarum Proprietatibus[?] - 1720
Treatise on Fluxions[?] - 1742 (763 pages in two volumes. The first systematic exposition of Newton's methods.)
Treatise on Algebra[?] - 1748 (two years after his death.)
Account of Newtons Discoveries[?] - Incomplete upon his death and published in 1750 or 1748 (sources disagree.)

Sources:

http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/People/Maclaurin/RouseBall/RB_Maclaurin
http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst829
http://www.andrews.edu/~calkins/math/biograph/199899/biomacla.htm
http://www.stetson.edu/~efriedma/periodictable/html/Mg
http://occ.awlonline.com/bookbind/pubbooks/thomas_awl/chapter1/medialib/custom3/topics/sequences.htm



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