Charles Hutton | |
---|---|

Born | 14 August 1737 |

Died | 27 January 1823 85) London, England | (aged

Nationality | British |

Awards | Copley Medal 1778 |

Scientific career | |

Fields | mathematics |

Institutions | Royal Military Academy |

Influenced | John Scott |

**Charles Hutton** FRS FRSE LLD (14 August 1737 – 27 January 1823) was a British mathematician and surveyor. He was professor of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich from 1773 to 1807. He is remembered for his calculation of the density of the earth from Nevil Maskelyne's measurements collected during the Schiehallion experiment.

Hutton was born on Percy Street in Newcastle upon Tyne ^{ [1] } in the north of England, the son of a superintendent of mines, who died when he was still very young.^{ [2] } He was educated at a school at Jesmond, kept by Mr Ivison, an Anglican clergyman. There is reason to believe, on the evidence of two pay-bills, that for a short time in 1755 and 1756 Hutton worked in the colliery at Old Long Benton. Following Ivison's promotion to a living^{[ clarification needed ]}, Hutton took over the Jesmond school, which, in consequence of his increasing number of pupils, he relocated to nearby Stotes Hall. While he taught during the day at Stotes Hall, which overlooked Jesmond Dene, he studied mathematics in the evening at a school in Newcastle. In 1760 he married, and began teaching on a larger scale in Newcastle, where his pupils included John Scott, later Lord Eldon, who became Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.^{ [3] }

In 1764 Hutton published his first work, *The Schoolmasters Guide, or a Complete System of Practical Arithmetic*, which was followed by his *Treatise on Mensuration both in Theory and Practice* in 1770.^{ [3] } At around this time he was employed by the mayor and corporation of Newcastle to make a survey of the town and its environs. He drew up a map for the corporation; a smaller one, of the town only, was engraved and published.^{ [4] } In 1772 he brought out a tract on *The Principles of Bridges*, a subject suggested by the destruction of Newcastle bridge by a high flood on 17 November 1771.^{ [3] }

Hutton left Newcastle in 1773, following his appointment as professor of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.^{ [3] } He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in July, 1774^{ [5] } He was asked by the society to perform the calculations necessary to work out the mass and density of the earth from the results of the Schiehallion experiment – a set of observations of the gravitational pull of a mountain in Perthshire made by the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne,^{ [6] } in 1774–76.^{ [3] } Hutton's results appeared in the society's * Philosophical Transactions * for 1778, and were later reprinted in the second volume of Hutton's *Tracts on Mathematical and Philosophical Subjects*. His work on the question procured for him the degree of LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He became the foreign secretary of the Royal Society in 1779. His resignation from the society in 1783 was brought about by tensions between its president Sir Joseph Banks and the mathematicians amongst its members.^{ [3] } He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1788.^{ [7] }

While working on the Schiehallion experiment, Hutton recorded 23 Gaelic place-names on or near his measurement contour. Less than half are to be found on the modern Ordnance Survey map.^{ [8] }

After his *Tables of the Products and Powers of Numbers*, 1781, and his *Mathematical Tables* of 1785 (second edition 1794), Hutton issued, for the use of the Royal Military Academy, in 1787 *Elements of Conic Sections*, and in 1798 his *Course of Mathematics*. His *Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary*, a valuable contribution to scientific biography, was published in 1795 and the four volumes of *Recreations in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy*, mostly translated from the French, in 1803. One of his most laborious works was the abridgment, in conjunction with G. Shaw and R. Pearson, of the Royal Society's *Philosophical Transactions*. This undertaking, the mathematical and scientific parts of which fell to Hutton, was completed in 1809, and filled 18 quarto volumes.^{ [3] } From 1764 he contributed to * The Ladies' Diary * (a poetical and mathematical almanac established in 1704), and became its editor in 1773–4, retaining the post until 1817.^{ [9] } He had previously begun a small periodical called *Miscellane Mathematica*, of which only 13 numbers appeared; he subsequently published five volumes of *The Diarian Miscellany* which contained substantial extracts from the *Diary*.^{ [3] }

Due to ill health, Hutton resigned his professorship in 1807,^{ [3] } although he served as the principal examiner of the Royal Military Academy, and also to the Addiscombe Military Seminary for some years after his retirement. The Board of Ordnance had granted him a pension of £500 a year.^{ [2] } During his last years, he worked on new editions of his earlier works.^{ [10] }

He died on 27 January 1823, and was buried in the family vault at Charlton, in Kent.^{ [2] }

During the last year of his life a group of his friends set up a fund to pay to have a marble bust made of him. It was executed by the sculptor Sebastian Gahagan. The subscription exceeded the amount necessary, and a medal was also produced, engraved by Benjamin Wyon, showing Hutton's head on one side and emblems representing his discoveries about the force of gunpowder, and the density of the earth on the other.^{ [2] }

**Daines Barrington**, FRS, FSA was an English lawyer, antiquary and naturalist. He was one of the correspondents to whom Gilbert White wrote extensively on natural history topics. Barrington served as a Vice President of the Royal Society and wrote on a range of topics related to the natural sciences including early ideas and scientific experimentation on the learning of songs by young birds. He designed a standard format for the collection of information about weather, the flowering of plants, the singing of birds and other annual changes that was also used by Gilbert White. He also wrote on child geniuses including Mozart, who at the age of nine had visited England.

**John Playfair** FRSE, FRS was a Church of Scotland minister, remembered as a scientist and mathematician, and a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He is best known for his book *Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth* (1802), which summarised the work of James Hutton. It was through this book that Hutton's principle of uniformitarianism, later taken up by Charles Lyell, first reached a wide audience. Playfair's textbook *Elements of Geometry* made a brief expression of Euclid's parallel postulate known now as Playfair's axiom.

**Jeremiah Dixon** FRS was an English surveyor and astronomer who is best known for his work with Charles Mason, from 1763 to 1767, in determining what was later called the Mason–Dixon line.

**Henry Thomas Colebrooke** FRS FRSE was an English orientalist and mathematician. He has been described as "the first great Sanskrit scholar in Europe".

**Olinthus Gilbert Gregory** was an English mathematician, author, and editor.

**Tiberius Cavallo** was an Italian physicist and natural philosopher. His interests included electricity, the development of scientific instruments, the nature of "airs", and ballooning. He became both a Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Naples, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1779. Between 1780 and 1792, he presented the Royal Society's Bakerian Lecture thirteen times in succession.

**Schiehallion** is a prominent mountain in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Schiehallion has a rich botanical life, interesting archaeology, and a unique place in scientific history for an 18th-century experiment in "weighing the world". The mountain's popularity amongst walkers led to erosion on its footpath and extensive repairs were undertaken in 2001.

**John Walsh** was a British scientist and Secretary to the Governor of Bengal.

An **Earth mass** (denoted as or , where ⊕ is the standard astronomical symbol for Earth), is a unit of mass equal to the mass of the planet Earth. The current best estimate for the mass of Earth is ** M_{⊕} = 5.9722×10^{24} kg**, with a standard uncertainty of 6×10

**John Adamson** (1787–1855) was an antiquary and scholar of Portuguese from Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He was decorated by Queen Maria II of Portugal for his services to Portuguese literature.

**Nathaniel Pigott** (1725–1804) was an English astronomer, noted for his observations of eclipses, a transit of Venus and a transit of Mercury, and comets. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 16 January 1772, a foreign member of the Imperial Academy at Brussels in 1773, and a correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences in 1776.

**Thomas Stephens Davies** FRS FRSE(1795–1851) was a British mathematician.

The **Schiehallion experiment** was an 18th-century experiment to determine the mean density of the Earth. Funded by a grant from the Royal Society, it was conducted in the summer of 1774 around the Scottish mountain of Schiehallion, Perthshire. The experiment involved measuring the tiny deflection of the vertical due to the gravitational attraction of a nearby mountain. Schiehallion was considered the ideal location after a search for candidate mountains, thanks to its isolation and almost symmetrical shape.

**Patrick Kelly** (1756–1842) was a British metrologist, best known for his comparative studies of weights and measures collected in his works *Universal Cambist* (1811) and *Oriental Metrology* (1832). Kelly was Master of the Finsbury Square Academy, London. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Imperial system of measurement through the Weights and Measures Act 1824.

**Lewis Evans** was a Welsh mathematician.

**Thomas Simpson Evans** (1777–1818) was a British mathematician.

Dr **Andrew Mackay** FRSE LLD (1760–1809) was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer, known as a teacher of navigation.

**Sebastian Gahagan** was a sculptor of Irish descent active in London. His most notable works are the monument to Sir Thomas Picton in St Paul's Cathedral, and a statue of the Duke of Kent in Park Crescent, Portland Place. He was also employed by Joseph Nollekens, carrying out the carving of many of his major works.

**William Armstrong** (1778–1857) was an English corn merchant and local politician of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was also the father of prominent industrialist William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong.

**Edward Riddle** was an English mathematician and astronomer, known for *A Treatise on Navigation and Nautical Astronomy*.

- ↑
*Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002*(PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X. - 1 2 3 4 "Charles Hutton, LL.D. F.R.S."
*The European Magazine, and London Review*.**83**: 482–7. June 1823. - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chisholm 1911.
- ↑ Bruce 1823, p.13
- ↑ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
^{[ permanent dead link ]} - ↑ "Background to Boys' experiment to determine G". University of Oxford Department of Physics. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- ↑ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter H" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- ↑ Murray, John (2019),
*Reading the Gaelic Landscape: Leughadh Aghaidh na Tire*, Whittles Publishing, pp. 23 & 24. - ↑ Niccolò Guicciardini, 'Hutton, Charles (1737–1823)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 9 April 2015
- ↑ Bruce 1823, p.27

- Bruce, John (1823).
*A Memoir of Charles Hutton LLD FRS*. Newcastle. - This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hutton, Charles".
*Encyclopædia Britannica*. Vol. 14 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 15. - Wardhaugh, Benjamin (2019).
*Gunpowder & Geometry. The Life of Charles Hutton: Pit Boy, Mathematician and Scientific Rebel*. London: William Collins.

*A mathematical and philosophical dictionary*Vol. I London : Printed by J. Davis for J. Johnson and G. G. and J. Robinson 1795 at Internet Archive*A mathematical and philosophical dictionary*Vol. II London : Printed by J. Davis for J. Johnson and G. G. and J. Robinson 1795 at Internet Archive*A mathematical and philosophical dictionary*Vols. I and II London : Printed by J. Davis for J. Johnson and G. G. and J. Robinson 1795 at the Archimedes Project*A mathematical and philosophical dictionary*Vol. I London, Printed for the author [etc.] 1815 at Internet Archive*A mathematical and philosophical dictionary*Vol. II London, Printed for the author [etc.] 1815 at Google Books- Charles Hutton Tracts on Mathematical and Philosophical Subjects (F. & C. Rivington, London, 1812)
- Charles Hutton A Course of Mathematics For the Use of Academies... (volume 1) (Campbell & sons, New York, 1825)
- Charles Hutton A Course of Mathematics For the Use of Academies... (volume 2) (Dean, New York, 1831)
- Charles Hutton A Treatise on Mensuration both in Theory and in practice (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1770)
- Charles Hutton Mathematical tables (F. & C. Rivington, London, 1811)

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