Beki Grinter

William Oughtred

In discipline, European Union, research on September 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm

William Oughtred died in Albury, Surrey on June 30, 1660. He had invented an early form of the slide rule and introduced the ‘x’ symbol for multiplication.

He also invented, or should it be “coined the expression” sin and cos for sine and cosine.

He was a member of the English clergy, early post-reformation, and like other scientists (e.g. Newton) he had an interest in alchemy.

Wikipedia tells me that one of his students was Christopher Wren. People probably know Wren for St. Pauls Cathedral. But Wren had a pretty eclectic (diverse) set of interests. He was an individual interdisciplinarian. Or was he a product of his times.

Well for cos, sin, and x, I thank you William. For being engaged with astrology and alchemy, I think it’s an important reminder of the origins of science.


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