"Such evanescent shadows of probability," said the mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Peirce
in his testimony, "cannot belong to actual life." He and his son Charles Sanders Peirce, the philosopher, were attacking this problem with the mathematics of probability rather than the visual connoisseurship of signature experts.
Although the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century history of mathematics at Harvard is very briefly sketched, the book opens in the nineteenth century with the story of Benjamin Peirce
, a home-grown scholar who personally embraced the research ethos at a moment in the history of American higher education when that ethos was not widely shared.
Professor of Technology and Public Policy
Even 19th century Harvard professor Benjamin Peirce
once admitted: "It's paradoxical.
worked hard towards improving the lives of Americans through his various scientific advances and work, starting at Harvard at only the age of sixteen, and his accolades have brought him across many sciences from mathematics to astronomy to geology, among others.
called it "the science that draws necessary conclusions".
Of the human heart; a biography of Benjamin Peirce
The first chapter sketches some historical sources and precursors for the early Victorian perspective on mathematics, chapters two through four discuss the work and outlook of three pivotal mathematicians (Benjamin Peirce
, United States; George Boole, Ireland; and Augustus De Morgan, England), and the final chapter argues that the trend toward professionalization redirected the British outlook on mathematics during the last half of the century.
His topics include sources of Victorian mathematical idealism, Benjamin Peirce
and the divinity of mathematics at Harvard, George Boole and the genesis of symbolic logic, and Augustus de Morgan and the logic of relations.