Augustus De Morgan

 

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Born 1806 in Madras, India, died 1871 in London

Augustus De Morgan was born in India as his father was at the time a Lieutenant Colonel stationed in Madras. De Morgan lost the sight of his right eye shortly after birth, something that gave him difficulties during his childhood. Because of this De Morgan did not take part in any sports, and was made a victim of bullying.

He entered Trinity College Cambridge in 1823 at the age of 16. There he received his BA, but could not receive MA because he objected to the theological test. The test at the time was part of higher education in the England - in particular at the old universities such as Cambridge and Oxford, no one could gain an MA (Masters Degree) unless they were Anglican - meaning that Catholics and Jews and people from many other religious denominations could not gain degrees.

The situation changed with the establishment of the University College London in 1828, which wanted to rectify the situation and admitted students regardless of their religion. De Morgan was made the first professor of mathematics at the University College.

De Morgan's main work was on recognising the purely symbolic nature of algebra and on the introduction of De Morgan's laws. His greatest contribution to mathematics is in reforming the mathematical logic. He corresponded with Charles Babbage and was friend with Lady Lovelace.

He was a co-founder of the London Mathematical Society, and its first president.

 

   

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