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Arthur Cayley

Mathematician Laureate of the Victorian Age

Tony Crilly

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Arthur Cayley (1821–1895) was one of the most prolific and important mathematicians of the Victorian era. His influence still pervades modern mathematics, in group theory (Cayley's theorem), matrix algebra (the Cayley-Hamilton theorem), and invariant theory, where he made his most significant contributions. Yet Cayley's life has been overlooked by historians, who have lavished far more attention on lesser figures. Mathematician and biographer Tony Crilly, the world's leading authority on Cayley, rectifies this oversight with the first definitive account of his life.

Born in England, Cayley…

Arthur Cayley (1821–1895) was one of the most prolific and important mathematicians of the Victorian era. His influence still pervades modern mathematics, in group theory (Cayley's theorem), matrix algebra (the Cayley-Hamilton theorem), and invariant theory, where he made his most significant contributions. Yet Cayley's life has been overlooked by historians, who have lavished far more attention on lesser figures. Mathematician and biographer Tony Crilly, the world's leading authority on Cayley, rectifies this oversight with the first definitive account of his life.

Born in England, Cayley spent his childhood in St. Petersburg, where his father was a commercial agent. After returning to England in 1828, Cayley received a first-rate education. As an undergraduate at Trinity College in Cambridge, he was named "Senior Wrangler," the top mathematics student of his year. After graduating, he found himself at the vanguard of the revolution in British mathematics which included William Rowan Hamilton, George Boole, and James Joseph Sylvester. At the same time, needing a reliable income, he trained for the bar and became a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in 1849. Though a successful lawyer, Cayley devoted all his free time to mathematics and confirmed his reputation as one of the era's leading minds with a procession of brilliant articles on key aspects in pure mathematics. Only after 1863, when he was appointed to the Sadleirian Chair at Cambridge, could he fully pursue mathematical investigations, and he continued to publish influential papers until his death.

Comprehensive and elegantly composed, this biography makes clear the scope of Arthur Cayley's prodigious achievements, firmly enshrining him as the "Mathematician Laureate of the Victorian Age."

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Arthur Cayley

Tony Crilly

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Reviews

Reviews

The real subject of Crilly's monumental biography is the surrounding galaxy of British mathematicians and milieu in which they operated.

Fluid, readable style... Highly recommended.

This well-written biography... is full of shrewd observation and careful analysis.

First full-length account of Cayley's life... Anyone interested in the emerging role of the research mathematician in England will find Crilly's book particularly rewarding.

Crilly's book is a beautifully written account of Cayley's life and of British mathematics in the 19th century.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
784
ISBN
9780801880117
Illustration Description
50 halftones, 7 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowldgments
Introduction
Chronology
Genealogy
Part I. Growing Up, 1821-1843
1. Early Years
2. A Cambridge Prodigy
3. Coming of Age
Part II. New Vistas, 1844-1849
4. A Mathematical Medly
5. From a Fenland

Acknowldgments
Introduction
Chronology
Genealogy
Part I. Growing Up, 1821-1843
1. Early Years
2. A Cambridge Prodigy
3. Coming of Age
Part II. New Vistas, 1844-1849
4. A Mathematical Medly
5. From a Fenland Base
6. The Pupil Barrister
Part III. A Rising Star, 1850-1962
7. Barrister-at-Law
8. A Grand Design
9. Without Portfolio
10. The Road to Academe
Part IV. The High Plateau, 1863-1882
11. The Mathematician Laureate
12. Years of Challenge
13. A Representative Man
14. March On with Step Sublime
Part V. Make One Music as Before, 1882-1895
15. "A Tract of Beautiful Coutry"
16. The Old Man of mathematics
17. Last Years
Appendix A
Appendix B
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Tony Crilly

Tony Crilly is a Reader in mathematical sciences at Middlesex University.