Old Tripos Days at Cambridge


The following is a version of an address to the South-West Wales Branch of the Mathematical Association, Swansea, on 2 March, 1935, by Andrew R Forsyth. It was published in The Mathematical Gazette 19 (234) (1935), 162-179.

0. Introduction.

My purpose this evening is to submit to you an outline sketch of the general course and the circumstances of mathematical study at Cambridge in my student days between fifty and sixty years ago. It does not set out to be an estimate of the state of mathematical knowledge at that date. It is not a comparison (or would contrast be the better word?) between the empirical natural philosophy then in vogue and the rather speculative (slightly Aristotelian) physical theories that now absorb a small world of seekers after new Truth. It is only a picture of that academic life as it then appeared to an unfledged student, now drawn as faithfully as memory will allow.
  1. Mathematicians in Cambridge in the late 1870s; see THIS LINK.
  2. History of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos; see THIS LINK.
  3. Topics of the Mathematical Tripos; see THIS LINK.
  4. The Tripos coaches; see THIS LINK.
  5. The Tripos examination; see THIS LINK.

Last Updated April 2020