Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles

George Green (1793-1841), of Green's functions and Green's theorem, was a miller on Belvoir Hill in Sneinton, now just to the east of central Nottingham. He was probably born in Wheatsheaf Yard, off Upper Parliament Street. He was baptized in St Mary's Church. At age 8, he attended Robert Goodacre's Academy in Upper Parliament Street for four terms, leaving in 1801. In 1807, his father bought the land in Sneinton and built the mill and, ten years later, the adjacent house. The area around the mill is still called Green's Gardens. Here he did all his early work and published his An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism in 1828, introducing the term 'potential'.. Little is known about how he acquired the necessary knowledge of continental mathematics, but John Toplis, a Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, was headmaster of Nottingham Free School in 1806-1819. Toplis was an enthusiast for Leibnizian calculus and continental mathematics and had translated the first book of Laplace's Mécanique Céleste and published it himself in Nottingham in 1814. It seems likely that Green studied with Toplis, or at least read his books. In 1833, Green entered Cambridge. When he returned from Cambridge in 1839 (or 1840), he stayed (and died?) at the house of his common law wife Jane at 3 Notintone Place, now part of the Salvation Army Community Centre, opposite No. 12 where William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) was born. This is to the north of St Stephen's church where Green, his parents, Jane and several of their children are buried in the churchyard. No portrait or description of Green remains. The mill at the top of nearby Belvoir Terrace, where Green did his mathematics, was severely damaged by fire in 1947. A memorial fund purchased it in 1979 and donated it to the city. It has now been restored as a working mill and Science Centre, opened in 1985. The fountain has part of Green's Theorem in it. As part of the Green Bicentenary Celebrations in 1993, the University Science and Engineering Library has been named the George Green Library. [1]; [2]; [3]; [4]

William Garnett (1850-1932) was the first Professor of Mathematics and Physics at University College, Nottingham, from 1882 to 1884. This was the first municipal college in England and later became the University. [5]

Burroughs first began overseas production of adding machines and calculators at its premises in Bell Street at Kirkby Street in 1898. This was still in use in the 1950s.

Henry Thomas Herbert Piaggio (1884-1967) was lecturer at the University of Nottingham from 1908 and then the first Professor of Mathematics in 1919-1950. Einstein lectured at the University in 1929 (or 1930?) and the blackboard he used was varnished over and preserved in the Physics Department.

About 6 miles north of Nottingham lies Hucknall Torkard, Notts., whose church contains the tomb of Lord Byron, not far from Newstead Abbey where he grew up. Beside him lies his daughter, Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), now celebrated as the friend of Babbage and the first person to write a computer program - in 1845!

A bit further north is the church of St John the Baptist, Ault Hucknall, Derbyshire, which contains Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the political philosopher and circle squarer [6].

References (show)

  1. References
  2. Challis, L. J.. George Green - Miller, Mathematician, Physicist. Math. Spectrum 20 (1987/88) 45-52.
  3. Cannell, D. M. George Green Miller and Mathematician 1793-1841. City of Nottingham Arts Department, Nottingham, 1988.
  4. Cannell, D. M. & Lord, N. J.. George Green, mathematician and physicist 1793-1841. Math. Gaz. 77 (No. 478) (Mar 1993) 26-51.
  5. Allen, Bernard M. William Garnett. A Memoir. Heffer, Cambridge, 1933. B. M. pp.31-35.
  6. Greenwood, Douglas. Wessex has Their Bones. Who's Buried Where in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight. Roy Gasson Associates, Wimborne, Dorset, 1985, p.145

The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles was created by David Singmaster.
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