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Saunderson, Nicholas, 1682-1739 (mathematician)



  • Existence: 1682-1739

Nicholas Saunderson [Sanderson] (1682-1739), Lucasian professor of mathematics was born to an exciseman in Yorkshire. He was baptised in 1683. He lost his eyesight to smallpox when he was a year old. At an early age he was taught arithmetic by his father whom he helped with his excise work. At 24 Saunderson went to Cambridge and resided with a friend at Christ's College, though not as a member of the University. Hoping to teach he was allowed to form a class by the Lucasian professor, William Whiston, and taught mathematics, astronomy and optics. Saunderson built a reputation as an excellent teacher, so much so that when Whiston was expelled from the professorship in 1710 Saunderson was made MA by special patent from Queen Anne to enable him to become Lucasian professor. He continued to live at Christ's until 1723 when he took a house in Cambridge and married Abigail Dickons. They had two children. In 1728 he was made Doctor of Laws. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1718 and also sat on the Board of Longitude. He died of scurvy 1739. He didn't publish whilst alive, but his Algebra, which he had been working on for six years, was published by subscription in 1740.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Edmund Hopkinson: Notes on Nicholas Saunderson's Lectures

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9752
Scope and Contents Covers mechanicks, hydrostaticks, pneumaticks, sounds, opticks, the rainbow, astronomy and tides.
Dates: 1723
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