Source:
http://www.clerkmaxwellfoundation.org/WranglersWhatBecame2008_1_24.pdf
James
Inman (1776-1859) was an English mathematician, professor of mathematics at the
Royal Naval College, Portsmouth. He was born at Tod Hole in Garsdale, the
younger son of Richard Inman and Jane Hutchinson. He was educated at Sedbergh
Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge, graduating as Senior Wrangler
in 1800.
He was Astronomer on HMS Investigator under Captain Matthew
Flinders charting Australian waters in 1803-4. While on board the East Indiaman
Warley for his return to Britain, he participated in the Battle of Pulo Auro.
Here he temporarily commanded a party of Lascar pikemen. He was ordained in
1805 when he gained his MA. Three years later he received an appointment as
Professor of Nautical Mathematics at the Royal Naval College. In 1821 he
published Navigation and Nautical Astronomy for Seamen; these nautical tables
remained in use for many years. In the third edition (1835) he introduced a new
table of haversines (the term was his coinage) to simplify the calculation of
distances between two points on the surface of the earth using spherical
trigonometry.
At his suggestion, in 1810 the Admiralty established a
School of Naval Architecture; the Admiralty also appointed Inman its first
Principal. At the same time as teaching in the school and publishing
mathematical texts for the use of his pupils, he translated a French text on
the architecture of shipbuilding, and continued his own studies, gaining his
doctorate in Divinity in 1820.
He retired in 1839, but continued living
in Portsmouth until his death twenty years later. His wife Mary, daughter of
Richard Williams, vicar of Oakham, Rutland, was a direct descendant of Hannah
Ayscough, the mother of Sir Isaac Newton.
Footnote: Senior Wrangler. During the one hundred and fifty
seven years (1753-1909) in which the results of the Cambridge Mathematical
Tripos were published in order of merit and divided by class of degree into
Wranglers (1st Class), Senior Optimes (2nd Class) and Junior Optimes (3rd
Class), great prestige attached to those students who had come out in the top
two or three places. The securing of the top position as Senior Wrangler was
regarded, at the time, as the greatest intellectual achievement attainable in
Britain and the Senior Wrangler was fêted well beyond Cambridge and
accorded pre-eminent status among his peers - indeed years in Cambridge were
often remembered in terms of who had been Senior Wrangler in that
year.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Inman |