Record

Authorised form of nameJones; William (1675 - 1749); Mathematician
SurnameJones
ForenamesWilliam
Dates1675 - 1749
NationalityBritish
Dates and placesBirth:
Llanfihangel Tw'r Beird, Anglesey, Wales (1675)
Death:
London (01 or 03 July 1749)
ActivityResearch Field:
Mathematics
Career:
Entered merchant's counting house in London; travelled to West Indies; taught mathematics on board a man-of-war; Present at the capture of Vigo (1702); Teacher of mathematics in London; tutor in mathematics to Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (FRS 1753), Thomas Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield (FRS 1712) and George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield (FRS 1722); Secretary for Peace; Deputy-Teller of the Exchequer; Governor of the Foundling Hospital; in 1711 appointed a member of the committee set up by the Royal Society to investigate the invention of calculus, and with John Machin and Halley, he was responsible for the preparation of the printed report. Introduced the Greek letter for pye to use as a symbol for the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. Gained popularity once Leonard Euler adopted it in 1739. Died of heart disease; his library, considered to be the finest mathematical library in England, and his papers were left to the 2nd Earl of Macclesfield
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
30/11/1711
Council:
Council (1717-1718, 1721, 1723, 1725-6, 1728, 1730); VP (1749)
RelationshipsSon of John George Jones, farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth Rowland; married Maria, daughter of George Nix, Cabinet-maker, of London
Father of Sir William Jones (FRS, 1772)
Published works'Synopsis palmariorum matheseos', (London, 1706); 'A New Compendium of the Whole Art of Navigation' (London, 1702) with tables by J Flamsteed; Discourses of the Natural Philosophy of the Elements', 1731;
General context'Synopsis palmariorum mathestos' 1706 , famous for using symbol for pye with the modern meaning of the ratio of the circumference of a cirde to the diameter.
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Thomas
Authority:
Death date from Ruth Wallis (index to BR)
References:
Obituary, 'Gentleman's Magazine' 1749, p331; obituary, 'London Magazine' 1749, p336
H G Lyons, 'Two Hundred Years Ago: 1739' in NR 1939 vol 2 pp 34-42
Notes:
DNB and DSB give date of death as 03 July 1749.
Royal Society codeNA7728
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MS/65Apollonii Pergaei Conica
MS/29Mathematical works of Pappus Alexandrinus
L&P/1/299Letter, 'The calculates values on annuties on lives' from Abraham de Moivre to William Jones1744
L&P/1/238Letter, 'On the transits of Mercury of 31 October 1736 and 25 October 1743' from John Bevis to William Jones1743
DM/5/100A list of benefactors to the Library, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
CLP/3ii/9Paper, 'Account of Reverend Felix Bernard's machine' by William Jones1713
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