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Mathematics - History of Mathematical Sciences | Mr Hopkins' Men - Cambridge Reform and British Mathematics in the 19th Century (Reviews)

Mr Hopkins' Men

Cambridge Reform and British Mathematics in the 19th Century

Craik, A.D.D.

2007, XIV, 410p. 78 illus., 48 illus. in color.

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From the reviews:

"Mr Hopkins’ Men is a book which takes the reader on a hike across nineteenth century mathematics in the British Isles. It takes in university reform, the lives of great mathematicians and the cultural influences and religious controversies in Victorian Britain. The author provides an engaging combination of historical colour, breadth of scope and fascinating detail in his narrative. It was a joy to read [Mark McCartney, University of Ulster: BSHM Bulletin]"

"Groomed for Success"

A few years ago, Alex Craik, a mathematician from the university of St. Andrews, found an obscure collection of portraits in the Wren Library of Trinity College at Cambridge University. The people depicted all had one thing in common: they had been pupils of the famous 19th-century Cambridge private mathematics tutor William Hopkins. He had taught a group that included George Stokes, William Thomson and James Clerk Maxwell, as well as other less famous but still highly successful scientists. Inspired by this finding, Craik has written Mr Hopkins' Men, which tells the story of Hopkins and his top students. The book provides a fascinating insight into 19th-century Cambridge college life, and charts how the university evolved from an outdated and stagnating institution into the world-renowned centre for mathematical and scientific research it is today. Many of these reforms were, in fact, down to Hopkins and the men he tutored." -Physics World, June 2008

"This book gives a fascinating view of Cambridge University during the Victorian era. … The book can be recommended to people who are interested in the history of Victorian Britain in general and in the history of Cambridge University, mathematical education, mathematics, and scientific life and work, as well as the connections of science and religious belief, politics, etc." (EMS Newsletter, June, 2008)

“The nineteenth century has often been styled the age of reform in Britain and neither higher education nor mathematical curricula were immune to the reforming impulses that have come to characterize the era. … book that will serve as a resource for those interested both in the role of mathematics in nineteenth century Cambridge and in the lives of many of those who so successfully gamed the Cambridge system.” (Karen Hunger Parshall, ISIS, Vol. 100 (3), 2009)

"The author has researched very well, not only in the published primary and secondary literature but also in various archives. His long bibliography is followed by excellent indices; nearly 50 pages of end matter. He has produced an impressive and attractive book – and his publisher has matched him in the quality of the reproductions and indeed in the book as a whole, which even carries a ribbon bookmark. Overall this book and Warwick’s shed much light on the Tripos, its context and consequences." (The Mathematical Gazette, July 2010)

 

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