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John Colson

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John Colson FRS 1680–1760 was an English clergyman and mathematician, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University


  • 1 Life
  • 2 Works
  • 3 See also
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 References


John Colson was educated at Lichfield School before becoming an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford, though he did not take a degree there He became a schoolmaster at Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1713 He was Vicar of Chalk, Kent from 1724 to 1740 He relocated to Cambridge and lectured at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge [1] From 1739 to 1760 he was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics He was also Rector of Lockington, Yorkshire[2]


In 1726 he published his Negativo-Affirmativo Arithmetik advocating a modified decimal system of numeration It involved "reduction small figures" by "throwing all the large figures 9 , 8 , 7 , 6 out of a given number, and introducing in their room the equivalent small figures 1 1 ¯ , 1 2 ¯ , 1 3 ¯ , 1 4 ¯ },1},1},1}} respectively"

John Colson translated several of Isaac Newton's works into English, including De Methodis Serierum et Fluxionum in 1736[1]

See also

  • Method of Fluxions
  • Witch of Agnesi


  1. ^ a b Cooper 1887
  2. ^ "Colson, John CL728J2" A Cambridge Alumni Database University of Cambridge 


  •  Cooper, Thompson 1887 "Colson, John" In Stephen, Leslie Dictionary of National Biography 11 London: Smith, Elder & Co pp 405–406 
  • Robert Bruen 2008 "Lucasian Chair: John Colson" Lucasian Chairorg Cambridge University Retrieved 2 April 2008 
  • "A Brief History of The Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge University" – Robert Bruen, Boston College, May 1995
  • John Colson 1726 "A Short Account of Negativo-Affirmativo Arithmetik", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 34:161–73 Available as Early Journal Content from JSTOR

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