The Full Wiki

Augustus De Morgan: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Augustus De Morgan

Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871)
Born 27 June 1806(1806-06-27)
Madurai, Madras Presidency, British Raj (now India)
Died 18 March 1871 (aged 64)
London, England
Residence  India
 England
Nationality  British
Fields Mathematician and logician
Institutions University College London
University College School
Alma mater Trinity College
University of Cambridge
Academic advisors John Philips Higman
George Peacock
William Whewell
Notable students Edward Routh
James Joseph Sylvester
Frederick Guthrie
William Stanley Jevons
Ada Lovelace
Francis Guthrie
Stephen Joseph Perry
Known for De Morgan's laws
De Morgan algebra
Relation algebra
Universal algebra
Influences George Boole
Influenced Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
Notes
He was the father of William De Morgan.

Augustus De Morgan (27 June 1806 – 18 March 1871) was a British mathematician and logician. He formulated De Morgan's laws and introduced the term mathematical induction, and made its idea rigorous.[1] The crater De Morgan on the Moon is named after him.

Contents

Biography

Advertisements

Childhood

Augustus De Morgan was born in 1806.[2] His father was Col. De Morgan, who held various appointments in the service of the East India Company. His mother descended from James Dodson, who computed a table of anti-logarithms, that is, the numbers corresponding to exact logarithms. Augustus De Morgan became blind in one eye a month or two after he was born. The family moved to England when Augustus was seven months old. As his father and grandfather had both been born in India, De Morgan used to say that he was neither English, nor Scottish, nor Irish, but a Briton "unattached", using the technical term applied to an undergraduate of Oxford or Cambridge who is not a member of any one of the Colleges.

When De Morgan was ten years old, his father died. Mrs. De Morgan resided at various places in the southwest of England, and her son received his elementary education at various schools of no great account. His mathematical talents went unnoticed until he was fourteen, when a family-friend discovered him making an elaborate drawing of a figure in Euclid with ruler and compasses. She explained the aim of Euclid to Augustus, and gave him an initiation into demonstration.

He received his secondary education from Mr. Parsons, a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, who appreciated classics better than mathematics. His mother was an active and ardent member of the Church of England, and desired that her son should become a clergyman; but by this time De Morgan had begun to show his non-conforming disposition.

University education

In 1823, at the age of sixteen, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge,[3] where he came under the influence of George Peacock and William Whewell, who became his life-long friends; from the former he derived an interest in the renovation of algebra, and from the latter an interest in the renovation of logic—the two subjects of his future life work. His Cambridge tutor was John Philips Higman.

At college the flute, on which he played exquisitely, was his recreation. He was prominent in the musical clubs. His love of knowledge for its own sake interfered with training for the great mathematical race; as a consequence he came out fourth wrangler. This entitled him to the degree of Bachelor of Arts; but to take the higher degree of Master of Arts and thereby become eligible for a fellowship it was then necessary to pass a theological test. To the signing of any such test De Morgan felt a strong objection, although he had been brought up in the Church of England. In about 1875 theological tests for academic degrees were abolished in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

London University

As no career was open to him at his own university, he decided to go to the Bar, and took up residence in London; but he much preferred teaching mathematics to reading law. About this time the movement for founding London University (now University College London) took shape. The two ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge were so guarded by theological tests that no Jew or Dissenter outside the Church of England could enter as a student, still less be appointed to any office. A body of liberal-minded men resolved to meet the difficulty by establishing in London a University on the principle of religious neutrality. De Morgan, then 22 years of age, was appointed Professor of Mathematics. His introductory lecture "On the study of mathematics" is a discourse upon mental education of permanent value which has been recently reprinted in the United States.

The London University was a new institution, and the relations of the Council of management, the Senate of professors and the body of students were not well defined. A dispute arose between the professor of anatomy and his students, and in consequence of the action taken by the Council, several professors resigned, headed by De Morgan. Another professor of mathematics was appointed, who then drowned a few years later. De Morgan had shown himself a prince of teachers: he was invited to return to his chair, which thereafter became the continuous centre of his labours for thirty years.

The same body of reformers—headed by Lord Brougham, a Scotsman eminent both in science and politics who had instituted the London University—founded about the same time a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Its object was to spread scientific and other knowledge by means of cheap and clearly written treatises by the best writers of the time. One of its most voluminous and effective writers was De Morgan. He wrote a great work on The Differential and Integral Calculus which was published by the Society; and he wrote one-sixth of the articles in the Penny Cyclopedia, published by the Society, and issued in penny numbers. When De Morgan came to reside in London he found a congenial friend in William Frend, notwithstanding his mathematical heresy about negative quantities. Both were arithmeticians and actuaries, and their religious views were somewhat similar. Frend lived in what was then a suburb of London, in a country-house formerly occupied by Daniel Defoe and Isaac Watts. De Morgan with his flute was a welcome visitor; and in 1837 he married Sophia Elizabeth, one of Frend's daughters.

The London University of which De Morgan was a professor was a different institution from the University of London. The University of London was founded about ten years later by the Government for the purpose of granting degrees after examination, without any qualification as to residence. The London University was affiliated as a teaching college with the University of London, and its name was changed to University College. The University of London was not a success as an examining body; a teaching University was demanded. De Morgan was a highly successful teacher of mathematics. It was his plan to lecture for an hour, and at the close of each lecture to give out a number of problems and examples illustrative of the subject lectured on; his students were required to sit down to them and bring him the results, which he looked over and returned revised before the next lecture. In De Morgan's opinion, a thorough comprehension and mental assimilation of great principles far outweighed in importance any merely analytical dexterity in the application of half-understood principles to particular cases.

During this period, he also promoted the work of self-taught Indian mathematician Ramchundra, who has been called De Morgan's Ramanujam. He supervised the publication in London of Ramchundra's book on "Maxima and Minima" in 1859. In the introduction to this book, he acknowledged being aware of the Indian tradition of logic, although we don't know if this had any influence on his own work.

De Morgan had three sons and four daughters. His eldest son was the potter William De Morgan. His second son George acquired great distinction in mathematics both at University College and the University of London. He and another like-minded alumnus conceived the idea of founding a Mathematical Society in London, where mathematical papers would be not only received (as by the Royal Society) but actually read and discussed. The first meeting was held in University College; De Morgan was the first president, his son the first secretary. It was the beginning of the London Mathematical Society.

Retirement and death

In 1866 the chair of mental philosophy in University College fell vacant. James Martineau, a Unitarian clergyman and professor of mental philosophy, was recommended formally by the Senate to the Council; but in the Council there were some who objected to a Unitarian clergyman, and others who objected to theistic philosophy. A layman of the school of Bain and Spencer was appointed. De Morgan considered that the old standard of religious neutrality had been hauled down, and forthwith resigned. He was now 60 years of age. His pupils secured him a pension of £500p.a., but misfortunes followed. Two years later his son George – the "younger Bernoulli", as Augustus loved to hear him called, in allusion to the eminent father and son mathematicians of that name – died. This blow was followed by the death of a daughter. Five years after his resignation from University College De Morgan died of nervous prostration on 18 March 1871.

Mathematical work

De Morgan was a brilliant and witty writer, whether as a controversialist or as a correspondent. In his time there flourished two Sir William Hamiltons who have often been confounded. The one was Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet (that is, his title was inherited), a Scotsman, professor of logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh; the other was a knight (that is, won the title), an Irishman, professor at astronomy in the University of Dublin. The baronet contributed to logic, especially the doctrine of the quantification of the predicate; the knight, whose full name was William Rowan Hamilton, contributed to mathematics, especially geometric algebra, and first described the Quaternions. De Morgan was interested in the work of both, and corresponded with both; but the correspondence with the Scotsman ended in a public controversy, whereas that with the Irishman was marked by friendship and terminated only by death. In one of his letters to Rowan, De Morgan says,

"Be it known unto you that I have discovered that you and the other Sir W. H. are reciprocal polars with respect to me (intellectually and morally, for the Scottish baronet is a polar bear, and you, I was going to say, are a polar gentleman). When I send a bit of investigation to Edinburgh, the W. H. of that ilk says I took it from him. When I send you one, you take it from me, generalize it at a glance, bestow it thus generalized upon society at large, and make me the second discoverer of a known theorem."

The correspondence of De Morgan with Hamilton the mathematician extended over twenty-four years; it contains discussions not only of mathematical matters, but also of subjects of general interest. It is marked by geniality on the part of Hamilton and by wit on the part of De Morgan. The following is a specimen: Hamilton wrote,

"My copy of Berkeley's work is not mine; like Berkeley, you know, I am an Irishman."

De Morgan replied,

"Your phrase 'my copy is not mine' is not a bull. It is perfectly good English to use the same word in two different senses in one sentence, particularly when there is usage. Incongruity of language is no bull, for it expresses meaning. But incongruity of ideas (as in the case of the Irishman who was pulling up the rope, and finding it did not finish, cried out that somebody had cut off the other end of it) is the genuine bull."

De Morgan was full of personal peculiarities. On the occasion of the installation of his friend, Lord Brougham, as Rector of the University of Edinburgh, the Senate offered to confer on him the honorary degree of LL. D.; he declined the honour as a misnomer. He once printed his name: Augustus De Morgan, H - O - M - O - P - A - U - C - A - R - U - M - L - I - T - E - R - A - R - U - M.[citation needed]

He disliked the provinces outside London, and while his family enjoyed the seaside, and men of science were having a good time at a meeting of the British Association in the country he remained in the hot and dusty libraries of the metropolis. He said that he felt like Socrates, who declared that the farther he was from Athens the farther was he from happiness. He never sought to become a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he never attended a meeting of the Society; he said that he had no ideas or sympathies in common with the physical philosopher. His attitude was possibly due to his physical infirmity, which prevented him from being either an observer or an experimenter. He never voted at an election, and he never visited the House of Commons, or the Tower of London, or Westminster Abbey.

Were the writings of De Morgan published in the form of collected works, they would form a small library, for example his writings for the Useful Knowledge Society. Mainly through the efforts of Peacock and Whewell, a Philosophical Society had been inaugurated at Cambridge; and to its Transactions De Morgan contributed four memoirs on the foundations of algebra, and an equal number on formal logic. The best presentation of his view of algebra is found in a volume, entitled Trigonometry and Double Algebra, published in 1849; and his earlier view of formal logic is found in a volume published in 1847. His most distinctive work is styled a Budget of Paradoxes; it originally appeared as letters in the columns of the Athenæum journal; it was revised and extended by De Morgan in the last years of his life, and was published posthumously by his widow.

George Peacock's theory of algebra was much improved by D. F. Gregory, a younger member of the Cambridge School, who laid stress not on the permanence of equivalent forms, but on the permanence of certain formal laws. This new theory of algebra as the science of symbols and of their laws of combination was carried to its logical issue by De Morgan; and his doctrine on the subject is still followed by English algebraists in general. Thus George Chrystal founds his Textbook of Algebra on De Morgan's theory; although an attentive reader may remark that he practically abandons it when he takes up the subject of infinite series. De Morgan's theory is stated in his volume on Trigonometry and Double Algebra. In the chapter (of the book) headed "On symbolic algebra" he writes:

"In abandoning the meaning of symbols, we also abandon those of the words which describe them. Thus addition is to be, for the present, a sound void of sense. It is a mode of combination represented by + ; when + receives its meaning, so also will the word addition. It is most important that the student should bear in mind that, with one exception, no word nor sign of arithmetic or algebra has one atom of meaning throughout this chapter, the object of which is symbols, and their laws of combination, giving a symbolic algebra which may hereafter become the grammar of a hundred distinct significant algebras. If any one were to assert that + and might mean reward and punishment, and A, B, C, etc., might stand for virtues and vices, the reader might believe him, or contradict him, as he pleases, but not out of this chapter. The one exception above noted, which has some share of meaning, is the sign = placed between two symbols as in A = B. It indicates that the two symbols have the same resulting meaning, by whatever steps attained. That A and B, if quantities, are the same amount of quantity; that if operations, they are of the same effect, etc."
Here, it may be asked, why does the symbol = prove refractory to the symbolic theory? De Morgan admits that there is one exception; but an exception proves the rule, not in the usual but illogical sense of establishing it, but in the old and logical sense of testing its validity. If an exception can be established, the rule must fall, or at least must be modified. Here I am talking not of grammatical rules, but of the rules of science or nature.

De Morgan proceeds to give an inventory of the fundamental symbols of algebra, and also an inventory of the laws of algebra. The symbols are 0, 1, +, −, ×, ÷, ()(), and letters; these only, all others are derived. His inventory of the fundamental laws is expressed under fourteen heads, but some of them are merely definitions. The laws proper may be reduced to the following, which, as he admits, are not all independent of one another:

  1. Law of signs. + + = +, + − = −, − + = −, − − = +, × × = ×, × ÷ = ÷, ÷ × = ÷, ÷ ÷ = ×.
  2. Commutative law. a+b = b+a, ab=ba.
  3. Distributive law. a(b+c) = ab+ac.
  4. Index laws. ab×ac=ab+c, (ab)c=abc, (ab)d= ad×bd.
  5. aa=0, a÷a=1.

The last two may be called the rules of reduction. De Morgan professes to give a complete inventory of the laws which the symbols of algebra must obey, for he says, "Any system of symbols which obeys these laws and no others, except they be formed by combination of these laws, and which uses the preceding symbols and no others, except they be new symbols invented in abbreviation of combinations of these symbols, is symbolic algebra." From his point of view, none of the above principles are rules; they are formal laws, that is, arbitrarily chosen relations to which the algebraic symbols must be subject. He does not mention the law, which had already been pointed out by Gregory, namely, (a + b) + c = a + (b + c),(ab)c = a(bc) and to which was afterwards given the name of the law of association. If the commutative law fails, the associative may hold good; but not vice versa. It is an unfortunate thing for the symbolist or formalist that in universal arithmetic mn is not equal to nm; for then the commutative law would have full scope. Why does he not give it full scope? Because the foundations of algebra are, after all, real not formal, material not symbolic. To the formalists the index operations are exceedingly refractory, in consequence of which some take no account of them, but relegate them to applied mathematics. To give an inventory of the laws which the symbols of algebra must obey is an impossible task, and reminds one not a little of the task of those philosophers who attempt to give an inventory of the a priori knowledge of the mind.

De Morgan's work entitled Trigonometry and Double Algebra consists of two parts; the former of which is a treatise on Trigonometry, and the latter a treatise on generalized algebra which he calls Double Algebra. The first stage in the development of algebra is arithmetic, where numbers only appear and symbols of operations such as + , \times, etc. The next stage is universal arithmetic, where letters appear instead of numbers, so as to denote numbers universally, and the processes are conducted without knowing the values of the symbols. Let a and b denote any numbers; then such an expression as ab may be impossible; so that in universal arithmetic there is always a proviso, provided the operation is possible. The third stage is single algebra, where the symbol may denote a quantity forwards or a quantity backwards, and is adequately represented by segments on a straight line passing through an origin. Negative quantities are then no longer impossible; they are represented by the backward segment. But an impossibility still remains in the latter part of such an expression as a+b\sqrt{-1} which arises in the solution of the quadratic equation. The fourth stage is double algebra; the algebraic symbol denotes in general a segment of a line in a given plane; it is a double symbol because it involves two specifications, namely, length and direction; and \sqrt{-1} is interpreted as denoting a quadrant. The expression a+b\sqrt{-1} then represents a line in the plane having an abscissa a and an ordinate b. Argand and Warren carried double algebra so far; but they were unable to interpret on this theory such an expression as e^{a\sqrt{-1}}. De Morgan attempted it by reducing such an expression to the form b+q\sqrt{-1}, and he considered that he had shown that it could be always so reduced. The remarkable fact is that this double algebra satisfies all the fundamental laws above enumerated, and as every apparently impossible combination of symbols has been interpreted it looks like the complete form of algebra.

If the above theory is true, the next stage of development ought to be triple algebra and if a+b\sqrt{-1} truly represents a line in a given plane, it ought to be possible to find a third term which added to the above would represent a line in space. Argand and some others guessed that it was a + b\sqrt{-1} + c\sqrt{-1}\,^{\sqrt{-1}} although this contradicts the truth established by Euler that \sqrt{-1}\,^{\sqrt{-1}}=e^{-\frac{1}{2} \pi}. De Morgan and many others worked hard at the problem, but nothing came of it until the problem was taken up by Hamilton. We now see the reason clearly: the symbol of double algebra denotes not a length and a direction; but a multiplier and an angle. In it the angles are confined to one plane; hence the next stage will be a quadruple algebra, when the axis of the plane is made variable. And this gives the answer to the first question; double algebra is nothing but analytical plane trigonometry, and this is why it has been found to be the natural analysis for alternating currents. But De Morgan never got this far; he died with the belief "that double algebra must remain as the full development of the conceptions of arithmetic, so far as those symbols are concerned which arithmetic immediately suggests."

When the study of mathematics revived at the University of Cambridge, so did the study of logic. The moving spirit was Whewell, the Master of Trinity College, whose principal writings were a History of the Inductive Sciences, and Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences. Doubtless De Morgan was influenced in his logical investigations by Whewell; but other influential contemporaries were Sir W. Hamilton of Edinburgh, and Professor Boole of Cork. De Morgan's work on Formal Logic, published in 1847, is principally remarkable for his development of the numerically definite syllogism. The followers of Aristotle say that from two particular propositions such as Some M's are A's , and Some M's are B's nothing follows of necessity about the relation of the A's and B's. But they go further and say in order that any relation about the A's and B's may follow of necessity, the middle term must be taken universally in one of the premises. De Morgan pointed out that from Most M's are A's and Most M's are B's it follows of necessity that some A's are B's and he formulated the numerically definite syllogism which puts this principle in exact quantitative form. Suppose that the number of the M's is m, of the M's that are A's is a, and of the M's that are B's is b; then there are at least (a + bm) A's that are B's. Suppose that the number of souls on board a steamer was 1000, that 500 were in the saloon, and 700 were lost; it follows of necessity, that at least 700+500-1000, that is, 200, saloon passengers were lost. This single principle suffices to prove the validity of all the Aristotelian moods; it is therefore a fundamental principle in necessary reasoning.

Here then De Morgan had made a great advance by introducing quantification of the terms. At that time Sir W. Hamilton was teaching at Edinburgh a doctrine of the quantification of the predicate, and a correspondence sprang up. However, De Morgan soon perceived that Hamilton's quantification was of a different character; that it meant for example, substituting the two forms The whole of A is the whole of B, and The whole of A is a part of B for the Aristotelian form All A's are B's. Hamilton thought that he had placed the keystone in the Aristotelian arch, as he phrased it; although it must have been a curious arch which could stand 2000 years without a keystone. As a consequence he had no room for De Morgan's innovations. He accused De Morgan of plagiarism, and the controversy raged for years in the columns of the Athenæum, and in the publications of the two writers.

The memoirs on logic which De Morgan contributed to the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society subsequent to the publication of his book on Formal Logic are by far the most important contributions which he made to the science, especially his fourth memoir, in which he begins work in the broad field of the logic of relatives. This is the true field for the logician of the twentieth century, in which work of the greatest importance is to be done towards improving language and facilitating thinking processes which occur all the time in practical life. Identity and difference are the two relations which have been considered by the logician; but there are many others equally deserving of study, such as equality, equivalence, consanguinity, affinity, etc.

In the introduction to the Budget of Paradoxes De Morgan explains what he means by the word.

"A great many individuals, ever since the rise of the mathematical method, have, each for himself, attacked its direct and indirect consequences. I shall call each of these persons a paradoxer, and his system a paradox. I use the word in the old sense: a paradox is something which is apart from general opinion, either in subject matter, method, or conclusion. Many of the things brought forward would now be called crotchets, which is the nearest word we have to old paradox. But there is this difference, that by calling a thing a crotchet we mean to speak lightly of it; which was not the necessary sense of paradox. Thus in the 16th century many spoke of the earth's motion as the paradox of Copernicus and held the ingenuity of that theory in very high esteem, and some I think who even inclined towards it. In the seventeenth century the deprivation of meaning took place, in England at least."

How can the sound paradoxer be distinguished from the false paradoxer? De Morgan supplies the following test:

"The manner in which a paradoxer will show himself, as to sense or nonsense, will not depend upon what he maintains, but upon whether he has or has not made a sufficient knowledge of what has been done by others, especially as to the mode of doing it, a preliminary to inventing knowledge for himself... New knowledge, when to any purpose, must come by contemplation of old knowledge, in every matter which concerns thought; mechanical contrivance sometimes, not very often, escapes this rule. All the men who are now called discoverers, in every matter ruled by thought, have been men versed in the minds of their predecessors and learned in what had been before them. There is not one exception."
"I remember that just before the American Association met at Indianapolis in 1890, the local newspapers heralded a great discovery which was to be laid before the assembled savants -- a young man living somewhere in the country had squared the circle. While the meeting was in progress I observed a young man going about with a roll of paper in his hand. He spoke to me and complained that the paper containing his discovery had not been received. I asked him whether his object in presenting the paper was not to get it read, printed and published so that everyone might inform himself of the result; to all of which he assented readily. But, said I, many men have worked at this question, and their results have been tested fully, and they are printed for the benefit of anyone who can read; have you informed yourself of their results? To this there was no assent, but the sickly smile of the false paradoxer"

[Note: De Morgan did not say this (how could he? He died far before 1890...). Rather, as pointed out on the discussion page, this paragraph (and the rest of the article) is copied verbatim from a lecture given in 1916]

The Budget consists of a review of a large collection of paradoxical books which De Morgan had accumulated in his own library, partly by purchase at bookstands, partly from books sent to him for review, partly from books sent to him by the authors. He gives the following classification: squarers of the circle, trisectors of the angle, duplicators of the cube, constructors of perpetual motion, subverters of gravitation, stagnators of the earth, builders of the universe. You will still find specimens of all these classes in the New World and in the new century. De Morgan gives his personal knowledge of paradoxers.

"I suspect that I know more of the English class than any man in Britain. I never kept any reckoning: but I know that one year with another? -- and less of late years than in earlier time? -- I have talked to more than five in each year, giving more than a hundred and fifty specimens. Of this I am sure, that it is my own fault if they have not been a thousand. Nobody knows how they swarm, except those to whom they naturally resort. They are in all ranks and occupations, of all ages and characters. They are very earnest people, and their purpose is bona fide, the dissemination of their paradoxes. A great many -- the mass, indeed -- are illiterate, and a great many waste their means, and are in or approaching penury. These discoverers despise one another."

A paradoxer to whom De Morgan paid the compliment which Achilles paid Hector—to drag him round the walls again and again—was James Smith, a successful merchant of Liverpool. He found \pi = 3 \frac{1}{8}. His mode of reasoning was a curious caricature of the reductio ad absurdum of Euclid. He said let \pi = 3 \frac{1}{8}, and then showed that on that supposition, every other value of π must be absurd; consequently \pi = 3\frac{1}{8} is the true value. The following is a specimen of De Morgan's dragging round the walls of Troy:

"Mr. Smith continues to write me long letters, to which he hints that I am to answer. In his last of 31 closely written sides of note paper, he informs me, with reference to my obstinate silence, that though I think myself and am thought by others to be a mathematical Goliath, I have resolved to play the mathematical snail, and keep within my shell. A mathematical snail! This cannot be the thing so called which regulates the striking of a clock; for it would mean that I am to make Mr. Smith sound the true time of day, which I would by no means undertake upon a clock that gains 19 seconds odd in every hour by false quadrative value of π. But he ventures to tell me that pebbles from the sling of simple truth and common sense will ultimately crack my shell, and put me hors de combat. The confusion of images is amusing: Goliath turning himself into a snail to avoid \pi = 3\frac{1}{8} and James Smith, Esq., of the Mersey Dock Board: and put hors de combat by pebbles from a sling. If Goliath had crept into a snail shell, David would have cracked the Philistine with his foot. There is something like modesty in the implication that the crack-shell pebble has not yet taken effect; it might have been thought that the slinger would by this time have been singing -- And thrice [and one-eighth] I routed all my foes, And thrice [and one-eighth] I slew the slain."

In the region of pure mathematics De Morgan could detect easily the false from the true paradox; but he was not so proficient in the field of physics. His father-in-law was a paradoxer, and his wife a paradoxer; and in the opinion of the physical philosophers De Morgan himself scarcely escaped. His wife wrote a book describing the phenomena of spiritualism, table-rapping, table-turning, etc.; and De Morgan wrote a preface in which he said that he knew some of the asserted facts, believed others on testimony, but did not pretend to know whether they were caused by spirits, or had some unknown and unimagined origin. From this alternative he left out ordinary material causes. Faraday delivered a lecture on Spiritualism, in which he laid it down that in the investigation we ought to set out with the idea of what is physically possible, or impossible; De Morgan did not believe this.

Relations

De Morgan discovered relation algebra in his Syllabus of a Proposed System of Logic (1966: 208-46), first published in 1860. This algebra was extended by Charles Sanders Peirce (who admired De Morgan and met him shortly before his death), and re-exposited and further extended in vol. 3 of Ernst Schröder's Vorlesungen über die Algebra der Logik. Relation algebra proved critical to the Principia Mathematica of Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead. In turn, this algebra became the subject of much further work, starting in 1940, by Alfred Tarski and his colleagues and students at the University of California.

Legacy

Beyond his great mathematical legacy, the headquarters of the London Mathematical Society is called De Morgan House and the student society of the Mathematics Department of University College London is called the August De Morgan Society.

Selected writings

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ De Morgan, (1838) Induction (mathematics), The Penny Cyclopedia.
  2. ^ The year of his birth may be found by solving a conundrum proposed by himself, "I was x years of age in the year x2 " (He was 43 in 1849). The problem is indeterminate, but it is made strictly determinate by the century of its utterance and the limit to a man's life. Those born in 1892, 1980, and 2070 are similarly privileged.
  3. ^ De Morgan, Augustus in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.

Further reading

  • De Morgan, A., 1966. Logic: On the Syllogism and Other Logical Writings. Heath, P., ed. Routledge. A useful collection of De Morgan's most important writings on logic.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Augustus De Morgan (1806-06-271871-03-18) was an Indian-born British mathematician and logician; he was the first professor of mathematics at University College London. He formulated De Morgan's laws and was the first to introduce the term, and make rigorous the idea of mathematical induction. De Morgan crater on the Moon is named after him.

Sourced

  • The moving power of mathematical invention is not reasoning, but imagination.
    • Quoted in Robert Perceval Graves The Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton Vol. 3 (1889) p. 219.
  • All existing things upon this earth, which have knowledge of their oen existence, possess, some in one degree and some in another, the power of thought, accompanied by perception, which is the awakening of thought by the effects of external objects upon the senses.
    • Formal Logic (1847)

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AUGUSTUS DE MORGAN (1806-1871), English mathematician and logician, was born in June 1806, at Madura, in the Madras presidency. His father, Colonel John De Morgan, was employed in the East India Company's service, and his grand ' father and great-grandfather had served under Warren Hastings. On the mother's side he was descended from JamesDodson,F.R.S., author of the Anti-logarithmic Canon and other mathematical works of merit, and a friend of Abraham Demoivre. Seven months after the birth of Augustus, Colonel De Morgan brought his wife, daughter and infant son to England, where he left them during a subsequent period of service in India, dying in 1816 on his way home.

Augustus De Morgan received his early education in several private schools, and before the age of fourteen years had learned Latin, Greek and some Hebrew, in addition to acquiring much general knowledge. At the age of sixteen years and a half he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied mathematics, partly under the tuition of Sir G. B. Airy. In 1825 he gained a Trinity scholarship. De Morgan's love of wide reading somewhat interfered with his success in the mathematical tripos, in which he took the fourth place in 1827. He was prevented from taking his M.A. degree, or from obtaining a fellowship, by his conscientious objection to signing the theological tests then required from masters of arts and fellows at Cambridge.

A career in his own university being closed against him, he entered Lincoln's Inn; but had hardly done so when the establishment, in 1828, of the university of London, in Gower Street, afterwards known as University College, gave him an opportunity of continuing his mathematical pursuits. At the early age of twenty-two he gave his first lecture as professor of mathematics in the college which he served with the utmost zeal and success for a third of a century. His connexion with the college, indeed, was interrupted in 1831, when a disagreement with the governing body caused De Morgan and some other professors to resign their chairs simultaneously. When, in 1836, his successor was accidentally drowned, De Morgan was requested to resume the professorship.

In 1837 he married Sophia Elizabeth, daughter of William Frend, a Unitarian in faith, a mathematician and actuary in occupation, a notice of whose life, written by his son-in-law, will be found in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (vol. v.). They settled in Chelsea (30 Cheyne Row), where in later years Mrs De Morgan had a large circle of intellectual and artistic friends.

As a teacher of mathematics De Morgan was unrivalled. He gave instruction in the form of continuous lectures delivered extempore from brief notes. The most prolonged mathematical reasoning, and the most intricate formulae, were given with almost infallible accuracy from the resources of his extraordinary memory. De Morgan's writings, however excellent, give little idea of the perspicuity and elegance of his viva voce expositions, which never failed to fix the attention of all who were worthy of hearing him. Many of his pupils have distinguished themselves, and, through Isaac Todhunter and E. J. Routh, he had an important influence on the later Cambridge school. For thirty years he took an active part in the business of the Royal Astronomical Society, editing its publications, supplying obituary notices of members, and for eighteen years acting as one of the honorary secretaries. He was also frequently employed as consulting actuary, a business in which his mathematical powers, combined with sound judgment and business-like habits, fitted him to take the highest place.

De Morgan's mathematical writings contributed powerfully towards the progress of the science. His memoirs on the "Foundation of Algebra," in the 7th and 8th volumes of the Cambridge Philosophical Transactions, contain some of the most important contributions which have been made to the philosophy of mathematical method; and Sir W. Rowan Hamilton, in the preface to his Lectures on Quaternions, refers more than once to those papers as having led and encouraged him in the working out of the new system of quaternions. The work on [[Trigonometry]] and Double Algebra (1849) contains in the latter part a most luminous and philosophical view of existing and possible systems of symbolic calculus. But De Morgan's influence on mathematical science in England can only be estimated by a review of his long series of publications, which commence, in 1828, with a translation of part of Bourdon's Elements of Algebra, prepared for his students. In 1830 appeared the first edition of his well-known Elements of Arithmetic, which did much to raise the character of elementary training. It is distinguished by a simple yet thoroughly philosophical treatment of the ideas of number and magnitude, as well as by the introduction of new abbreviated processes of computation, to which De Morgan always attributed much practical importance. Second and third editions were called for in 1832 and 1835; a sixth edition was issued in 1876. De Morgan's other principal mathematical works were The Elements of Algebra (1835), a valuable but somewhat dry elementary treatise; the [[Essay]] on Probabilities (1838), forming the 107th volume of Lardner's Cyclopaedia, which forms a valuable introduction to the subject; and The Elements of Trigonometry and Trigonometrical Analysis, preliminary to the Differential Calculus (1837). Several of his mathematical works were published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, of which De Morgan was at one time an active member. Among these may be mentioned the Treatise on the Differential and Integral Calculus (1842); the Elementary Illustrations of the Differential and Integral Calculus, first published in 1832, but often bound up with the larger treatise; the essay, On the Study and Difficulties of Mathematics (1831); and a brief treatise on Spherical Trigonometry (1834). By some accident the work on probability in the same series, written by Sir J. W. Lubbock and J. Drinkwater-Bethune, was attributed to De Morgan, an error which seriously annoyed his nice sense of bibliographical accuracy. For fifteen years he did all in his power to correct the mistake, and finally wrote to The Times to disclaim the authorship. (See Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. xxvi. p. 118.) Two of his most elaborate treatises are to be found in the [[Encyclopaedia]] metropolitana, namely the articles on the Calculus of Functions, and the Theory of Probabilities. De Morgan's minor mathematical writings were scattered over various periodicals. A list of these and other papers will be found in the Royal Society's Catalogue, which contains forty-two entries under the name of De Morgan.

I.n spite, however, of the excellence and extent of his mathematical writings, it is probably as a logical reformer that De Morgan will be best remembered. In this respect he stands alongside of his great contemporaries Sir W. R. Hamilton and George Boole, as one of several independent discoverers of the all-important principle of the quantification of the predicate. Unlike most mathematicians, De Morgan always laid much stress upon the importance of logical training. In his admirable papers upon the modes of teaching arithmetic and geometry, originally published in the Quarterly Journal of Education (reprinted in The Schoolmaster, vol ii.), he remonstrated against the neglect of logical doctrine. In 1839 he produced a small work called First Notions of Logic, giving what he had found by experience to be much wanted by students commencing with [[Euclid]]. In October 1846 he completed the first of his investigations, in the form of a paper printed in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (vol. viii. No. 29). In this paper the principle of the quantified predicate was referred to, and there immediately ensued a memorable controversy with Sir W. R. Hamilton regarding the independence of De Morgan's discovery, some communications having passed between them in the autumn of 1846. The details of this dispute will be found in the original pamphlets, in the [[Athenaeum]] and in the appendix to De Morgan's Formal Logic. Suffice it to say that the independence of De Morgan's discovery was subsequently recognized by Hamilton. The eight forms of proposition adopted by De Morgan as the basis of his system partially differ from those which Hamilton derived from the quantified predicate. The general character of De Morgan's development of logical forms was wholly peculiar and original on his part.

Late in 1847 De Morgan published his principal logical treatise, called Formal Logic, or the Calculus of Inference, Necessary and Probable. This contains a reprint of the First Notions, an elaborate development of his doctrine of the syllogism, and of the numerical definite syllogism, together with chapters of great interest on probability, induction, old logical terms and fallacies. The severity of the treatise is relieved by characteristic touches of humour, and by quaint anecdotes and allusions furnished from his wide reading and perfect memory. There followed at intervals, in the years 1850, 1858,1860 and 1863, a series of four elaborate memoirs on the "Syllogism," printed in volumes ix. and x. of the Cambridge Philosophical Transactions. These papers taken together constitute a great treatise on logic, in which he substituted improved systems of notation, and developed a new logic of relations, and a new onymatic system of logical expression. In 1860 De Morgan endeavoured to render their contents better known by publishing a [[Syllabus]] of a Proposed System of Logic, from which may be obtained a good idea of his symbolic system, but the more readable and interesting discussions contained in the memoirs are of necessity omitted. The article "Logic" in the English Cyclopaedia (1860) completes the list of his logical publications.

Throughout his logical writings De Morgan was led by the idea that the followers of the two great branches of exact science, logic and mathematics, had made blunders, - the logicians in neglecting mathematics, and the mathematicians in neglecting logic. He endeavoured to reconcile them, and in the attempt showed how many errors an acute mathematician could detect in logical writings, and how large a field there was for discovery. But it may be doubted whether De Morgan's own system, "horrent with mysterious spiculae," as Hamilton aptly described it, is fitted to exhibit the real analogy between quantitative and qualitative reasoning, which is rather to be sought in the logical works of Boole.

Perhaps the largest part, in volume, of De Morgan's writings remains still to be briefly mentioned; it consists of detached articles contributed to various periodical or composite works. During the years 1833-1843 he contributed very largely to the first edition of the [[Penny]] Cyclopaedia, writing chiefly on mathematics, astronomy, physics and biography. His articles of various length cannot be less in number than 850, and they have been estimated to constitute a sixth part of the whole Cyclopaedia, of which they formed perhaps the most valuable portion. He also wrote biographies of Sir Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley for Knight's British Worthies, various notices of scientific men for the [[Gallery]] of Portraits, and for the uncompleted Biographical Dictionary of the Useful Knowledge Society, and at least seven articles in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography. Some of De Morgan's most interesting and useful minor writings are to be found in the Companions to the British Almanack, to which he contributed without fail one article each year from 1831 up to 1857 inclusive. In these carefully written papers he treats a great variety of topics relating to astronomy, chronology, decimal coinage, life assurance, bibliography and the history of science. Most of them are as valuable now as when written.

Among De Morgan's miscellaneous writings may be mentioned his Explanation of the Gnomonic Projection of the Sphere, 1836, including a description of the maps of the stars, published by the Useful Know ledge Society; his Treatise on the Globes, Celestial and Terrestrial,1845, and his remarkable [[Book]] of Almanacks (2nd edition, 1871), which contains a series of thirty-five almanacs, so arranged with indices of reference, that the almanac for any year, whether in old style or new, from any epoch, ancient or modern, up to A. D. 2000, may be found without difficulty, means being added for verifying the almanac and also for discovering the days of new and full moon from 2000 B. c. up to A. D. 2000. De Morgan expressly draws attention to the fact that the plan of this book was that of L. B. Francoeur and J. Ferguson, but the plan was developed by one who was an unrivalled master of all the intricacies of chronology. The two best tables of logarithms, the small five-figure tables of the Useful Knowledge Society 1839 and 1857), and Shroen's Seven Figure-Table (5th ed., 1865), were printed under De Morgan's superintendence. Several works edited by him will be found mentioned in the British Museum Catalogue. He made numerous anonymous contributions through a long series of years to the Athenaeum, and to Notes and Queries, and occasionally to The North British Review, Macmillan's Magazine, &c.

Considerable labour was spent by De Morgan upon the subject of decimal coinage. He was a great advocate of the pound and mil scheme. His evidence on this subject was sought by the Royal Commission, and, besides constantly supporting the Decimal Association in periodical publications, he published several separate pamphlets on the subject.

One marked characteristic of De Morgan was his intense and yet reasonable love of books. He was a true bibliophil, and loved to surround himself, as far as his means allowed, with curious and rare books. He revelled in all the mysteries of watermarks, title-pages, colophons, catch-words and the like; yet he treated bibliography as an important science. As he himself wrote, "the most worthless book of a bygone day is a record worthy of preservation; like a telescopic star, its obscurity may render it unavailable for most purposes; but it serves, in hands which know how to use it, to determine the places of more important bodies." His evidence before the Royal Commission on the British Museum in 1850 (Questions 57 0 4 * -5 81 5, * 6481-6513, and 8966-8967), should be studied by all who would comprehend the principles of bibliography or the art of constructing a catalogue, his views on the latter subject corresponding with those carried out by Panizzi in the British Museum Catalogue. A sample of De Morgan's bibliographical learning is to be found in his account of Arithmetical Books, from the Invention of Printing (1847), and finally in his [[Budget]] of Paradoxes. This latter work consists of articles most of which were originally published in the Athenaeum, describing the various attempts which have been made to invent a perpetual motion, to square the circle, or to trisect the angle; but De Morgan took the opportunity to include many curious bits gathered from his extensive reading, so that the Budget, as reprinted by his widow (1872), with much additional matter prepared by himself, forms a remarkable collection of scientific ana. De Morgan's correspondence with contemporary scientific men was very extensive and full of interest. It remains unpublished, as does also a large mass of mathematical tracts which he prepared for the use of his students, treating all parts of mathematical science, and embodying some of the matter of his lectures. De Morgan's library was purchased by Lord Overstone, and presented to the university of London.

In 1866 his life became clouded by the circumstances which led him to abandon the institution so long the scene of his labours. The refusal of the council to accept the recommendation of the senate, that they should appoint an eminent Unitarian minister to the professorship of logic and mental philosophy, revived all De Morgan's sensitiveness on the subject of sectarian freedom; and, though his feelings were doubtless excessive, there is no doubt that gloom was thrown over his life, intensified in 1867 by the loss of his son George Campbell De Morgan, a young man of the highest scientific promise, whose name, as De Morgan expressly wished, will long be connected with the London Mathematical Society, of which he was one of the founders. From this time De Morgan rapidly fell into ill-health, previously almost unknown to him, dying on the 18th of March 1871. An interesting and truthful sketch of his life will be found in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society for the 9th of February 1872, vol. xxii. p. 112, written by A. C. Ranyard, who says, "He was the kindliest, as well as the most learned of men - benignant to every one who approached him, never forgetting the claims which weakness has on strength." De Morgan left no published indications of his opinions on religious questions, in regard to which he was extremely reticent. He seldom or never entered a place of worship, and declared that he could not listen to a sermon, a circumstance perhaps due to the extremely strict religious discipline under which he was brought up. Nevertheless there is reason to believe that he VIII. 1 a was of a deeply religious disposition. Like M. Faraday and Sir I. Newton he entertained a confident belief in Providence, founded not on any tenuous inference, but on personal feeling. His hope of a future life also was vivid to the last.

It is impossible to omit a reference to his witty sayings, some specimens of which are preserved in Dr Sadler's most interesting [[Diary]] of Henry Crabb Robinson (1869), which also contains a humorous account of H. C. R. by De Morgan. It may be added that De Morgan was a great reader and admirer of Dickens; he was also fond of music, and a fair performer on the flute. .(W. S. J.) HiS SOD, William Frend De Morgan (b. 1839), first became known in artistic circles as a potter, the "De Morgan" tiles being remarkable for his rediscovery of the secret of some beautiful colours and glazes. But later in life he became even better known to the literary world by his novels, [[Joseph]] Vance (1906), Alice for Short (1907), Somehow Good (1908) and It Never Can Happen Again (1909), in which the influence of Dickens and of his own earlier family life were conspicuous.


<< Demonology

Demosthenes >>


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message