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David Gregory


1659 - 1708

Mathematician and astronomer. Born in the Upper Kirkgate, Aberdeen, Gregory was the nephew of another mathematician, James Gregory (1638-75). He was educated Aberdeen Grammar School and then Marischal College, although he never graduated. In 1683, he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. Gregory left Edinburgh where the politics had become unpleasant and, in 1691, was appointed Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford, largely due to the influence of Gregory's mentor, Sir Isaac Newton. The following year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Following the Act of Union in 1707, he was asked to reorganise the Scottish Mint on behalf of the government.

His publications include Exercitatio Geometrica de Dimensione Figurarum (1684), Catoptricae et Dioptricae Sphaericae Elementa (1695) and Astronomiae Physicae et Geometricae Elementa (1702). Gregory is also noted as a commentator on Newton's Principia.

He died at an inn in Maidenhead (Berkshire, England) while travelling. Gregory will be remembered for his work in mathematics and theoretical astronomy, extending the work of his uncle. He was also the first to apply Newtonian gravitational principles to the science of astronomy.


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