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Robert Simson (14 October 1687 – 1 October 1768) was a
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...

Scottish
mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces ...
and professor of mathematics at the
University of Glasgow The University of Glasgow (abbreviated as ''Glas.'' in Post-nominal letters, post-nominals; ) is a Public university, public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the List of oldest universities in continuous ...

University of Glasgow
. The
Simson lineSimson may refer to: * Simson (name) * Simson (artist) Music Producer based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. * Simson (company), a German company that produced firearms, automobiles, motorcycles, and mopeds * Simson line in geometry, named for Rober ...
is named after him.Robert Simson
University of Glasgow (multi-tab page)


Life

The eldest son of John Simson of Kirktonhall,
West Kilbride West Kilbride ( gd, Cille Bhrìghde an Iar) is a village in North Ayrshire, Scotland, on the west coast by the Firth of Clyde, looking across the Firth of Clyde to Goat Fell and the Isle of Arran. West Kilbride and adjoining districts of Seamill ...
in
Ayrshire Ayrshire ( gd, Siorrachd Inbhir Àir, ) is a historic county and registration county A registration county was, in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. Wit ...

Ayrshire
, Robert Simson was intended for the Church, but the bent of his mind was towards mathematics. He was educated at the University of Glasgow and graduated M.A. When the prospect opened of his succeeding to the mathematical chair at the
University of Glasgow The University of Glasgow (abbreviated as ''Glas.'' in Post-nominal letters, post-nominals; ) is a Public university, public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the List of oldest universities in continuous ...

University of Glasgow
, Simson proceeded to
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
for further study. After a year in London, he returned to Glasgow and, in 1711, was appointed by the university to the professorship of mathematics, an office which he retained until 1761. He was succeeded by his pupil Rev Prof James Williamson FRSE (1725-1795).https://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Glasgow_maths.html


Works

Simson's contributions to mathematical knowledge took the form of critical editions and commentaries on the works of the ancient
geometer A geometer is a mathematician whose area of study is geometry. Some notable geometers and their main fields of work, chronologically listed, are: 1000 BCE to 1 BCE * Baudhayana (fl. c. 800 BC) – Euclidean geometry, geometric algebra * M ...
s. The first of his published writings is a paper in the ''
Philosophical Transactions ''Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society'' is a scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published ...
'' (1723, vol. xl. p. 330) on
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Εὐκλείδης Euclid (; grc, Εὐκλείδης – ''Eukleídēs'', ; fl. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referre ...

Euclid
's ''
Porism A porism is a mathematical proposition In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...
s''. Then followed ''Sectionum conicarum libri V.'' (Edinburgh, 1735), a second edition of which, with additions, appeared in 1750. The first three books of this
treatise A treatise is a formal Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or not complying with, some set theory, set of requirements (substantial form, forms, in Ancient Greek). They may refer to: Dress code and events * For ...
were translated into English and, several times, printed as ''The Elements of the
Conic Sections In mathematics, a conic section (or simply conic) is a curve obtained as the intersection of the Conical surface, surface of a cone (geometry), cone with a plane (mathematics), plane. The three types of conic section are the hyperbola, the par ...
''. In 1749, was published ''Apollonii Pergaei locorum planorum libri II.'', a restoration of Apollonius's lost treatise, founded on the
lemma Lemma may refer to: Language and linguistics * Lemma (morphology), the canonical, dictionary or citation form of a word * Lemma (psycholinguistics), a mental abstraction of a word about to be uttered * Headword, under which a set of related dict ...
s given in the seventh book of Pappus's ''Mathematical Collection''. This work is given mention by
William Paley William Paley (July 174325 May 1805) was an English clergyman, Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian Utilitarianism is a family of normative Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard. Normativity is the phe ...
in his ''
Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity ''Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity'' is an 1802 work of Christian apologetics and philosophy of religion by the English clergyman William Paley (1743–1805). The book expounds his arguments from natural ...
'', published in 1804, a footnote in a later edition explaining who Simson was. In 1756, appeared, both in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
and in English, the first edition of his ''
Euclid's Elements The ''Elements'' ( grc, Στοιχεῖα ''Stoikheîa'') is a mathematics, mathematical treatise consisting of 13 books attributed to the ancient Greek mathematics, Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt 300 BC. It is a colle ...
''. This work, which contained only the first six and the eleventh and twelfth books, and to which, in its English version, he added the ''Data'' in 1762, was for long the standard text of Euclid in England. After Simson's death, restorations of Apollonius's treatise ''De section determinata'' and of Euclid's treatise ''De Porismatibus'' were printed for private circulation in 1776, at the expense of
Earl Stanhope Earl Stanhope ()Debrett's Correct Form, Debrett's Peerage Ltd, 1976, pg 408 was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain (1718–1967). Summary The earldom was created in 1718 for Major General James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, James Stanhope,Edwar ...
, in a volume with the title ''Roberti Simson opera quaedam reliqua''. The volume contains also dissertations on ''
Logarithms In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...

Logarithms
'' and on the ''Limits of Quantities and Ratios'', and a few problems illustrating the ancient geometrical analysis.


Notes


References

*


Further reading

*
William Trail William Trail or Traill FRSE Royal Irish Academy, MRIA (23 June 1746 – 3 February 1831) was a Scots-born mathematician, remembered for his mathematical text books. For the majority of his life, he served church duties in Northern Ireland. Li ...
(1812) *
Charles Hutton Charles Hutton Royal Society of London, FRS FRSE LLD (14 August 1737 – 27 January 1823) was an English mathematician and surveyor. He was professor of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich from 1773 to 1807. He is remembered for ...

Charles Hutton
(1815) ''Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary'', volume II, p. 395-398 ()


External links

* Robert Simson
''The Elements of Euclid''
.. ''Errors Corrected... also The Book of Euclid's Data... Corrected'' 12th ed. (1804)


Simson's line
from
Cut-the-Knot Alexander Bogomolny (January 4, 1948 July 7, 2018) was a Soviet Union, Soviet-born Israeli American mathematician. He was Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Iowa, and formerly research fellow at the Moscow Institute of Electron ...

A Scottish sundial erected by Robert Simson at Kirktonhall, West Kilbride.

The Memorial to Robert Simson in West Kilbride
{{DEFAULTSORT:Simson, Robert 1687 births 1768 deaths People from North Ayrshire Scottish mathematicians
Alumni of the University of Glasgow :''Alumni An alumnus (; masculine) or an alumna (; feminine) of a college, university, or other school is a former student who has either attended or graduated in some fashion from the institution. The word is Latin and simply means ''student''. ...
Academics of the University of Glasgow 18th-century Scottish mathematicians 18th-century Scottish people Euclid