Reference numberRR/16/401
TitleReferee's report by William Davidson Niven, on a paper 'Mathematical concepts of the material world' by Alfred North Whitehead
Date27 November 1905
DescriptionSectional Committee: Mathematics

Recommended for publication in full in Philosophical Transactions. Suggests the shorthand symbols used should be collected in one page for easy reference. The general method of the paper and the cases to which it is applied should be referred to more fully in the preface. The condensations suggested by Burnside in his report, should be submitted to the author for approval and incorporation. Provides general remarks on additional paper. In recommending this paper for publication he has been to some extent influenced by the favourable opinion expressed by Professor [William] Burnside, to whom he submitted the paper according to agreement. Burnside's remarks are forwarded herewith [not attached] and should be sent to the author. Agree's with Burnside as to the success of the work on the foundations of geometry but thinks the method of procedure adopted is expected to be more useful as a means physical research or at all events, of suggestion in physics.

The author has so far only reached the expression of kinematical ideas and this is difficult to follow. He is inclined to think that the method, though useful in a subject like geometry, will not be of much service to physics which depends upon inductive processes. Thinks the paper not easy for the general reader due to the many new definitions and axioms, and a system of shorthand containing at least a hundred symbols. Suggests the symbols be collected in one page for ready reference and that in the early stages of their use more assistance is afforded to the reader. The preface as it stands seems hardly suitable for the usual abstract but the paper is of a kind that makes it difficult to write shortly of it.

[Published in Philosophical Transactions A, 1906].

Endorsed on verso as received 29 November 1905.
Physical descriptionStandardised form (type A) and note on paper
Digital imagesView item on Science in the Making
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rsta.1906.0014
Related records in the catalogueRR/16/399
Fellows associated with this archive
NA6649Niven; Sir; William Davidson (1842 - 1917)1842 - 1917
NA6260Whitehead; Alfred North (1861 - 1947)1861 - 1947
NA6254Burnside; William (1852 - 1927)1852 - 1927
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