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Peter Barlow, mathematician and physicist

Peter Barlow, mathematician and physicist

C004/0973

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Credit

ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Peter Barlow (1776-1858), British mathematician and physicist. Barlow was born in Norwich, and was self-educated. In 1801 he became assistant mathematics master at the Royal Military Academy Woolwich in London. The most famous of his works is New Mathematical Tables of 1814. This gave the square, cube, square root, cube root and reciprocal of every number from 1 to 10, 000, and is so accurate that it is still published. In 1819 he provided a solution for correcting ships’ compasses to allow for iron hulls, and between 1827-32 designed an achromatic lens for astronomers. The first design used liquid carbon disulphide between to glass lenses, the second used a mix of flint glass and crown glass.

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