Joseph Middleton, British mathematician

Joseph Middleton, British mathematician

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Joseph Middleton, British mathematician. He founded the Spitalfields Mathematics Society in 1717, where the members regularly met in pubs in the East End of London for lectures and discussions. Middleton presented his paper Specious Arithmetic, writings on algebra that he investigated from 1701 to 1709, to the society in the same year it was established. The society flourished for over a century, but then slowly declined to just 19 members by 1845. The remaining members decided to close the society and donate its library on mathematical philosophy and astronomy to the Royal Astronomical Society, who responded by electing them all for lifelong membership.

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