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John Wallis born on December 3, 1616

John Wallis was born on this date in 1616.  Wallis was a British mathematician who introduced the infinity math symbol. He was skilled in cryptography and decoded Royalist messages for the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. Subsequently, he was appointed to the Savilian Chair of geometry at Oxford in 1649, a position he held until his death more than 50 years later. Wallis was part of a group interested in natural and experimental science which eventually became the Royal Society, and wrote a history on the origins of the Society.  He also became one of its first Fellows. Wallis made significant contributions to geometry, calculus and trigonometry and the analysis of infinite series and was the most influential English mathematician before Newton.

 Books in our collections

 The correspondence of John Wallis  by John Wallis, Christoph Scriba, Philip Beeley

The arithmetic of infinitesimals  by John Wallis, Jacqueline Stedall

Squaring the circle: the war between Hobbes and Wallis by Douglas Jesseph