Samuel Pepys

The Great Fire of London

The Great Fire of London

From Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666, a major conflagration swept through the central parts of the English city of London, destroying the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall. The social and economic problems created by the disaster were overwhelming. Evacuation from London and resettlement elsewhere were strongly encouraged by Charles II, who feared a London rebellion among the dispossessed refugees. Despite numerous radical proposals, London was…
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Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

On January 23, 1571, the Royal Exchange in London was founded by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The Protagonists On the afternoon of January 23rd, 1571, Queen Elizabeth [8] went from her Palace of Somerset House to dine with Sir Thomas Gresham at his fine mansion in Austin Friars. She went in state with her Trumpeters and Halberdiers, with Sir Thomas Gresham…
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The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

On February 23, 1633, English naval administrator and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys was born, who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Personally, I really enjoyed reading Samuel Pepys’…
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John Graunt and the Science of Demography

John Graunt and the Science of Demography

On April 18, 1674, English herberdasher and statistician John Graunt passed away. Graunt is considered by many historians to have founded the science of demography as the statistical study of human populations. For his published analysis of the parish records of christenings and deaths, he was made a charter member of the Royal Society. John Graunt was born on April 24, 1620, in London, the eldest of seven or eight children of Henry Graunt,…
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William Brouncker’s approximation of Pi

William Brouncker’s approximation of Pi

On April 5, 1684, English mathematician William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker passed away. Brouncker introduced Brouncker‘s formula, a development of 4/π in a generalized continued fraction, and was the first President of the Royal Society. Brouncker was born in Castlelyons, County Cork, the elder son of William Brouncker, 1st Viscount Brouncker and Winifred, daughter of Sir William Leigh of Newnham. His father was created a Viscount in the Peerage of Ireland in…
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Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

On December 30, 1695, English academic, diplomat, spy, inventor and mathematician Samuel Morland passed away. Morland was a polymath credited with early developments in relation to computing, hydraulics and steam power. He is probably best known for his designs of early calculator machines. Youth and Education Samuel Morland was born in Sulhamstead Bannister, Berkshire, England, the son of Thomas Morland, the rector of Sulhamstead Bannister parish church in Berkshire. Morland entered Winchester…
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John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

On April 29, 1667, Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot was baptized. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club (where he inspired both Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Alexander Pope), and for inventing the figure of John Bull. He published Of the Laws of Chance (1692), the first work on probability published in English, being his translation of a work by…
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