Authorised form of nameRobins; Benjamin (1707 - 1751)
Dates1707 - 1751
Place of birthBath, Somerset, England
Date of birth1707
Place of deathFort St David, Cuddalore, Madras, India
Date of death29 July 1751
OccupationTeacher; Engineer; Author
Research fieldMathematics
Military engineering
Came to London at the suggestion of Henry Pemberton (FRS 1720) and taught mathematics to private pupils; soon abandoned his Quaker faith; travelled in Flanders to study the fortifications there; engaged in civil and military engineering; invented the ballistic pendulum, a device for measuring the velocity of a projectile; invited by the Prince of Orange to fortify Bergen-op-Zoom, but it fell to the French before he had started work; Engineer-General to the HEIC (1749-death)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election09/11/1727
ProposerSylvanus Bevan
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1745
RelationshipsSon of John Robins, a Quaker; unmarried
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
Geoffrey Cantor, 'Quakers in the Royal Society, 1660-1750' in NR 1997 vol 51 pp 175-193.
W Johnson, 'Benjamin Robins During 1739-1742: "Called to a Publick Employment … A Very Honorable Post"' in NR 1994 vol 48 pp 31-42
W Johnson, 'Benjamin Robins, FRS (1707-1751): New Details of His Life' in NR 1992 vol 46 pp 235-252
J A D Ackroyd, 'Sir George Cayley, the father of aeronautics, Part 1. The invention of the aeroplane' NR 2002 vol 56 pp 167-181
J A D Ackroyd, 'Sir George Cayley, the father of aeronautics. Part 2. Cayley's aeroplanes' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 333-348
Gentleman's Magazine' 1752, p92 (obituary)
London Magazine 1752, p92 (a description of his experiments with rockets by John Ellicott FRS is on p22)
A McConnell, 'All guns blazing: Collected works on Benjamin Robins and Charles Hutton, by W Johnson' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 102-103
William Johnson FRS 'Collected works on Benjamin Robins and Charles Hutton' 2001 Phoenix Publishing House pvt Ltd New Delhi)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA2673
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MS/46A commonplace book of Benjamin Robins
MM/6/76Letter from E Sparke to Benjamin Robins10 January 1744
MM/6/80Letter from E Sparke to Benjamin Robins11 October 1746
MM/6/78Letter from E Sparke to Benjamin Robins16 January 1745
MM/6/77Letter from E Sparke to Benjamin Robins14 January 1745
RBO/13/68'An account of a Treatise of the Abbe de Molieres intitled: a Physical and mechanical Explication of the Percussion of elastic Bodies' by Benjamin Robins1728
MM/6/79Letter from E Sparke, London, to Benjamin Robins6 September 1746
L&P/1/179aPaper 'An account of his book 'New principles of gunnery'' by Benjamin Robins1743
MS/130Papers on ballistics by Benjamin Robins1745-1750
MS/130/1Notebook containing 'An account of the experiments relating to the resistance of the air...', by Benjamin Robins1747-1750
MS/39Papers of Benjamin Robins1725-1750
CLP/9ii/22Paper, 'A new and exact table collected from severall observations taken from the year 1721 to 1729 in 9 voyages to Hudson Bay North America by Capt C Middleton shewing the variation of the compass according to the lattitudes and longitudes under mentioned accounting the longitude from the meridian of London' by C [Christopher] Middleton[1731]
RBO/16/61Meteorological observations from Hudson's Bay by Captain Christopher Middleton in his letter to Benjamin Robins1731
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