John Wallis

John was born at Ashford on November 22,
 He became interested in mathematics after
reading his brother’s arithmetic book and with
his help, mastering the subject
 He was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge
to become a doctor where he took an “ act ” on
the doctrine of the circulation of blood
No one at this time could teach him math , so
he took classes like ethics , anatomy, and
 He spent 1631-1632 at Martin Holbeach’s
school in Felsted, Essex,where he learned
Latin, Greek and Hebrew
 In 1649 he was appointed to the Savilian chair
of geometry at Oxford
He received his Masters in 1940 and in the same
year he was appointed chaplain and Hedingham,
Essex and in London
“Wallis contributed substantially to the origins of
calculus and was the most influential English
mathematician before Newton. He studied the
works of Kepler, Cavalieri, Roberval, Torricelli and
Descartes, and then introduced ideas of the
calculus going beyond that of these
authors.”(O’Conner, 2002)
He proved that x^0, x^-1, x^-2… was the same
as 1, 1/x, 1/x^2 and that x^1/2 was equal to
the square root of x…
 In his book Arithmetica infinitorum he
established the equation
He published Algebra and in it he showed the
relationship between space and time with the
equation S= vt
Wallis has been credited with the proof of the
Pythagorean theorem, but 6 centuries earlier it
was said that an Arab had proved it wit all 6
triangles. We don’t know if that is true, so
Wallis is still partially credited
“In 1655, Wallis published a treatise on conic
sections in which they were defined analytically.
This was the earliest book in which these
curves are considered and defined as curves of
the second degree. It helped to remove some
of the perceived difficulty and obscurity of René
Descartes' work on analytic geometry.”(
“One aspect of Wallis's mathematical skills has not yet
been mentioned, namely his great ability to do mental
calculations. He slept badly and often did mental
calculations as he lay awake in his bed. One night he
calculated the square root of a number with 53 digits in
his head. In the morning he dictated the 27 digit square
root of the number, still entirely from memory. It was a
feat which was rightly considered remarkable, and
Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society,
sent a colleague to investigate how Wallis did it. It was
considered important enough to merit discussion in the
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of
1685.” (wikipedia)
John Wallis was a very smart man, from
learning multiple languages, to studying many
forms of math and writing books. He was
considered the best mathematician before
Newton… Newton ever used much of his work.
Rouse Ball, W.W.. "John Walis (1616-1703)." maths. 19 May 2009
"john wallis." wikimedia. 4/24/09. 19 May 2009
O'Conner, JJ. "john wallis." Gap-system. 2002. 19 May 2009
"john wallis." wikipedia. May 6, 2009. 20 May 2009

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