Title:

The mathematical work of David Gregory, 16591708

David Gregory left many manuscripts and from these we can analyse the development of his ideas and his assimilation of Newtonian science. He was the nephew of James Gregorie (163875), a man justly renowned for his skill as a mathematician. David's study of the papers left on James' death led to his interest in integration by infinite series which was the subject of two publications of 1684 and 1688. Already, the influence of what he could learn of Isaac Newton's work was apparent. In 1683, David became Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University, which he left in 1691 to take up the Savilian Chair of Astronomy at Oxford where he remained until his death in 1708 of consumption. In spite of his enthusiasm for Newton's Principia (1687), his Edinburgh lectures were not Newtonian. In May 1694, David visited Newton at Cambridge and became one of the early group of Newtonian disciples. He studied Newton's mathematics, and the similar developments being made on the continent. In 1702, with the advice of Newton and his circle, he published hiss Astronomiae, which was the first astronomy text set in a Newtonian framework. As a mathematician, David was competent, but not always able to appreciate the new work of Newton and the continental mathematicians. His abilities were better used in expounding the work of others; the longlasting popularity of his Edinburgh lectures attests their value, and his published and manuscript expositions of Newton's work, though not always free from error, have much to recommend them.
