Record

Authorised form of nameBrouncker; William (c1620 - 1684); 2nd Viscount Brouncker; mathematician
Other forms of surnameBrounker
Datesc1620 - 1684
NationalityBritish
Place of birthNewcastle Lyons, co. Dublin, Ireland, Europe
Date of birth1620
Place of deathSt James' Street, Westminster, London, England, Europe
Date of death5 April 1684
Dates and placesBurial:
Chapel of St Katharine's Hospital, London, England, Europe (14 April 1684)
OccupationMathematician
Research fieldMathematics
ActivityEducation:
Oxford (MD 1646)
Career:
Published a translation of Descartes' 'Musicae compendium' (1653); MP for Westbury (1660); Chancellor to Catherine, Queen Consort (1662-1684); commissioned and designed a yacht for Charles II (1662); Commissioner of the Admirality (1664-1679); Assistant comptroller to the treasurer of the Admirality (1666-1679; 1681-1684); President of Gresham College (1664-1667); Lord of the Admiralty (1680-1683); Master of St Katharine's Hospital, London (1681-1684)
Membership categoryFounder Fellow
Date of election28/11/1660
Royal Society activityRoyal Society roles:
PRS 1663-1677
Committee and panels:
Committee to consider of Mr Buckland's proposition to plant potatoes through all the parts of England (1662) ; Committee to examine [William] Ball's accounts from Midsumer until St Andrews Day (1663) ; Mechanical Committee (1664-65) ; Committee to consider a way of determining the measure of a degree on the earth (1669)
RelationshipsParents: Sir William Brouncker, 1st Viscount Brouncker, and Winifred Leigh
Siblings: Henry Brouncker, 3rd Viscount Brouncker
General contextOne of Brouncker's most well-known contributions to mathematics is related to the famous problem of the quadrature of the circle. He was moved towards the informal philosophical discussions at Gresham College, out of which the Royal Society grew, through these mathematical contributions and his friendship with John Wallis (FRS 1663). Furthermore, much of his mathematical work concerned itself with calculations of lengths of parabola and cycloid, as well as the quadrature of the hyperbola. Reportedly, Brouncker - not Pell - was the first person to solve Pell's equation, and he continued to work on the generalised continued fraction of pi. During his career at the Admirality, Brouncker developed a close relationship with Samuel Pepys. During the Protectorate and as a royalist himself, Brouncker kept out of public life as much as he could.
The viscountcy and barony became extinct with the death of his brother Henry Brouncker in 1688, who was generally not well-liked within society and to whom William Brouncker had left very little in his will.
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Image

Brouncker P0016.jpg

SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Foster; GEC; Aubrey; ODNB
References:
Bryden, D J. 1993. 'Magnetic Inclinatory Needles: Approved by the Royal Society?', in Notes and Records, vol. 47, pp. 17-31
Cook, A. 2004. 'Rome and the Royal Society, 1660-1740', in Notes and Records, vol. 58, pp. 3-19
Gribbin, J. 2004. 'The Fellowship' (Penguin Books)
Scott J F and Hartley, Sir Harold. 1960. 'William, Viscount Brouncker, PRS (1620-1684)', in Notes and Records, vol. 15, pp. 147-157
Stedall, J A. 'Catching Proteus: the collaborations of Wallis and Brouncker. I. Squaring the circle', in Notes and Records, vol. 54, pp. 293-316
Stedall, J A. 2000. 'Catching Proteus: the collaborations of Wallis and Brouncker. II. Number problems', in Notes and Records, vol. 54, pp. 317-331
Thrower, N J W. 2003. 'Samuel Pepys FRS (1633-1733) and The Royal Society', in Notes and Records, vol. 57, pp. 3-13
Turnbull, G H. 1953. 'Samuel Hartlib's Influence on the Early History of the Royal Society', in notes and Records, vol. 10, pp. 101-130
Notes:
Election date given as 22/04/1663 in index to BR, the same date given in R, where Brouncker appears as President and a member of Council named by Second Royal Charter. He was present at the foundation meeting on 28 Nov 1660, which has been entered as his date of election. Biographical info from GEC; Henning says he was son of 1st Viscount and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir John Dauntsey of Bishop's Lavington; married Katherine, daughter of Thomas Moore of Hawkchurch, Devon and had three sons and two daughters
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/77098447
Royal Society codeNA3503
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
RBC/1/43'Account of the Sounding of the depth of the Sea between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, with the Wooden Globe and Lead By my Lord Brouncker and Sir Robert Moray'nd
RBC/1/5'Experiment of the weight of bodies increased in the Fire'1661
RBO/1/5'Experiment of the Weight of Bodies increased in the fire'23 February 1661
EL/H1/105Thomas Hobbes, dated at Chatsworth, to Mr Brookes20 October 1668
RBC/1/35'Of the Recoyling of Gunns By the Lord Brouncker'nd
RBC/1/39'A Demonstration of the Violation of a Pendulum in a Cycloid By the Lord Brouncker'1662
EL/P1/38'Report of the committee of the members of the Royal Society in Ireland concerning the structure and sayling of Sir William Petty's new Shipp' to William Brounckernd
EL/W2/65John Wallis to William Brounckernd
EL/P1/19William Petty to William BrounckerFebruary 1663
EL/B1/68Copy of a letter from John Beale to William Brounckernd
EL/P1/20Copy of a letter from William Petty to William Brouncker1663
EL/W1/60John Wallis, dated at Oxford, to William Brouncker6 August 1668
RBO/1/40'Account of the Sounding of the Depth of the Sea betweene Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, with the wooden Globe and Lead By My Lord Brouncker and Sir Robert Moray'nd
RBC/1/1'Questions Propounded by Lord Brouncker and Mr Boyle and agreed upon to be sent to Tenariffe'2 January 1660
RBO/1/1'Questions Propounded and agreed uppon to be sent to Tenariff' devised by Lord Brouncker and Mr Boyle 2 January 1661
RBC/1/24'Answer to the Foregoing Probleme by the Lord Brouncker'1 October 1661
RBC/1/48My Lord Brounckers Account of the third Experiment made by Dr Goddard1662
DM/5/42Draft of an instrument from Lord Brouncker appointing Spencer Hickman printer to the Royal Society November 1671
DM/5/1Draft of a letter about payment of arrears17th century
DM/5/74A'Recommended to Mr Evelyn'c.1666
MM/20/45Letter from William, Lord Viscount Brouncker, President, Royal Society20 January 1663/4
DM/5/73E'Experiments and Matters recommended to Mr William Balle'1664
RBC/2/11'Concerning Smutt in Corne' in a letter from Colonel Long to William Brouncker10 June 1663
V/001Lord Brouncker's shoe buckle
IM/000592Brouncker, William, 2nd Viscount Brounckernd
IM/000593Brouncker, William, 2nd Viscount BrounckerApril 2000
IM/005408Brouncker, William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker1989/90
LBO/2/68Copy letter from William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker, to Cardinal Leopold de Medici26 March 1668
CLP/3i/55Paper, 'The cases of motion are but three as is thus made out' by [William] Brouncker[1669]
NLB/1/488Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Mr Dyer, 8 Orchard Street, Portman Square30 June 1887
LBO/2/26Copy letter from Speed, Bristol, to Willliam Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker20 November 1667
NLB/10/360Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Osmund Airy, Solihull, Birmingham13 November 1894
NLB/11/492Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Benjamin Wheatley, Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, W.C.12 July 1895
MS/390/13Bond of William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker, to the Treasurer of the Royal Society23 November 1674
CLP/4i/34/2Drawing, device for measuring wind by William Brouncker5 February 1673
CLP/3i/15Paper, 'The use of the pendulum watches at sea' by [William] Brouncker[17th century]
EL/B1/3Paper, by William Brouncker on infinite quantity[1670s]
CLP/1/15/2Diagrams, showing pendulum equations by [William Brouncker][1662]
CLP/6/6/1Manuscript, 'Experiments of weighing glasse canes with the cylinders of quicksylver in them according to the torricellian experiment' by Jonathan Goddard and 'William Brouncker's account of the third experiment made by Dr Goddard'6 August 1662
CLP/4i/21Paper, 'A new experiment on the effect of the varying weight of the atmosphere on some bodies in the water' by Robert Boyle1671
CLP/1/11/7Diagram, for doubling the cube by William Brouncker[1669]
CLP/1/14Paper, 'To find two mean proportionalls betweene two straight lines given' by [Thomas Hobbes][17th century]
CLP/1/15/1Manuscript, regarding a pendulum experiment by [William Brouncker]22 January 1662
CLP/1/15Paper, regarding a pendulum experiment by [William Brouncker][1662]
CLP/6/6Paper, 'Experiments of weighing glasse canes with the cylinders of quicksylver in them according to the torricellian experiment' by Jonathan Goddard and 'William Brouncker's account of the third experiment made by Dr Goddard'6 August 1662
CLP/24/46Paper, 'Account of ye sounding of ye depth of ye sea between Portsmouth and ye Ile [Isle] of Wight with ye wooden globe and lead' by William Brounker and Sir Robert Moray17th century
MOB/015Shoe buckle set with imitation diamondslate 17th century
CLP/19/7Paper, directions for sea men bound for far voyages [1662]
RBO/1/34'An Experiment of the Instrument for Sounding of Depths without a line or cord made the 19 of March 1662 By The Lord Brouncker and Sir Robert Moray'nd
DM/5/60Minute of a meeting of a Committee to be appointed 'to consider of Mr Buckland's proposition to plant potatoes through all the parts of England' 20 March 1662
DM/5/101A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
IM/000591Brouncker, William, 2nd Viscount Brounckernd
DM/5/67'Transactions of the Mechanicall Committee'14 November 1664, 12 May 1665
RBC/1/37'An Experiment of the Instrument for Sounding the Depths of the Sea without a Line or Cord made the 19th of March 1662 By the Lord Brouncker and Sir Robert Moray'1662
RBO/2i/39'An Account of the Experiments and Observations made by Lord Brouncker, Sir Robert Moray, Mr Bruce and Mr Hooke upon the Thames'18 March 1662
EL/S1/94Metredone Speed, dated at Bristol, to William Brouncker20 September 1667
IM/007148Brouncker, William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker2002
CLP/1/11/8Diagram, for doubling the cube by William Brouncker[1669]
EL/S1/44Earl of Sandwich's astronomical observations made at Lisbon 1666
RBO/1/36'A Demonstration of the vibration of a Pendulum in a Cycloid By the Lord Brouncker'1662
DM/5/66Minutes of meetings of the Mechanicall Committee July-October 1664
DM/5/70Resolution signed by Henry Oldenburg, appointing a Committee of the Royal Society to consider a way of determining the measure of a degree on the earth21 October 1669
CLP/3i/54Paper, 'Animadversiones in novam theoriam motus a viris Dno Christophoro Wren et Dno Christiano Hugenio' ['Amendments to the new theory of motion of Christopher Wren and Christian Huygens'] by Francis Willughby[1669]
P/0016Portrait of Brouncker, William; 2nd Viscount
CLP/1/11/6Diagram, erroneous diagram for Brouncker's paper on the pendulum by Christopher Wren[1669]
CLP/10i/2Paper, 'Observations on the humble and sensible plants in Mr Chiffin's garden in St James his parke' by Dr Clarke9 August 1661
MC/2Volume 2 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1832-1838
MC/2/270Letter from [Charles] Turnor, Doctor's Common, to the Royal Society24 January 1838
EL/B1/7Letter, from William Brouncker to Lord Henry Howard, Ambassador Extraordinary to the Emperor of Morocco at Tangier10 May 1670
EL/W3/3Copy of a letter from Christopher Wren to William Brouncker30 July 1663
EL/S1/43Earl of Sandwich's astronomical observations, dated at Madrid1666
EL/S1/42Earl of Sandwich, dated at Madrid, to William Brouncker26 March 1667
EL/B1/12Note, from William Brouncker, in answer to a letter by Mr [Richard] Townley29 January 1671
EL/P1/18Copy of a letter from William Petty, dated at Dublin, to William Brouncker1662
EL/B1/6Letter, from William Brouncker to Cardinal Leopold de Medicis [Leopoldo de' Medici]26 March 1668
EL/B1/22Letter, from John Beale to William Brouncker16 February 1663
CLP/1/15/3Diagrams, illustrating pendulum curve by [William Brouncker][1662]
CLP/1/14/1Manuscript, 'To find two mean proportionalls betweene two straight lines given' by [Thomas Hobbes][17th century]
CLP/4i/34/1Manuscript, 'Observations on winds' by John Aubrey 14 December 16715 February 1673
EL/B1/4Letter, from William Brouncker to the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland3 January 1662
EL/P1/15Copy of a letter from William Petty to William Brouncker1662
EL/B1/1Letter, from William Brouncker to King Charles II3 September 1662
EL/D1/11William Durston, dated at Plymouth, to William Brouncker1669
EL/F1/3Robert Flynt, dated at Runton, to William Brouncker14 November 1664
EL/L1/32Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, dated at Delft, to William Brouncker16 October 1677
EL/P1/12Copy of a letter from William Petty to William Brouncker1662
EL/S1/113Georg Stiernhielm, dated at Stockholm, to William Brouncker21 September 1669
EL/B1/8Letter, from William Brouncker to Henry Oldenburg1 December 1670
EL/B1/9Letter, from William Brouncker to John Wallis, dated at London15 February 1670
EL/H1/92Henry Howard, dated at Cadiz, to William Brouncker21 February 1669
EL/P1/21Copy of a letter from William Petty to William Brounckernd
CLP/4i/34Paper, 'Observations on winds' by John Aubrey 14 December 16715 February 1673
EL/B1/10Copy of a letter, from William Brouncker to Dr [Jacobus?] Sylvius, dated at London3 July 1671
EL/B1/105Monsieur Borcel, dated at London, to William Brouncker27 January 1664
EL/B1/13Copies of two letters, from William Brouncker and Christopher Wren regarding precedence of mathematical demonstration8 October 1673
EL/B1/2Paper, William Brouncker's supplement paper on compression of air under water1671
EL/W1/65John Wallis, dated at Oxford, to William Brouncker4 November 1668
EL/P1/14William Petty to William Brouncker29 October 1662
CLP/8i/29Paper, 'How to make an instrument to know the height of the pole the longitude, the declination of the sun, the amplitude and the variation of the needle at any houre of the day' by unknown author[17th Century]
CLP/6/5Paper, 'Account of the sounding of the depth of the sea between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight with the wooden globe and lead' by William Brouncker and Robert Moray1662
CLP/24/11/2Diagram, The Parisian problem by Henry OldenburgDecember 1667/January 1668
CLP/6/6/2Diagram, weighing of glass canes and cylinder of mercury by Jonathan Goddard6 August 1662
RBO/1/21'Answer to the foregoeing Probleme By The Lord Brouncker'1 October 1661
RBO/1/32'Of the Recoiling of Gunns by The Lord Brouncker'nd
EL/B1/5Letter, from William Brouncker to the Council of the Royal Society12 February 1668
EL/B1/11Letter, from William Brouncker to Christiaan Huygens23 June 1673
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