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J. J. Sylvester (1814-1897)

 J. J. Sylvester (1814-1897)

J. J. Sylvester (1814-1897)

1997 marks the 100-th anniversary of the death of the British algebraist James Joseph Sylvester (born September 3, 1814; died March 15, 1897).

© Cambridge University Press 1912

This portrait of Sylvester is the frontispiece to Vol. 4 of The Collected Mathematical Papers of James Joseph Sylvester, edited by H. F. Baker, Cambridge University Press 1912, and is used with permission.

Sylvester had a rather colorful career--he was a published poet as well as a mathematician. A very interesting account of Sylvester's life is to be found in H. F. Baker's biographical sketch in the above-mentioned volume. Baker remarks there:

One rises from the task of editing Sylvester's mathematical writings for the Press, with a feeling that here was a great personality as well as a remarkable mathematician, wide and accurate in thought, deep and sensitive in feeling, and inspired with a great faith in things spiritual.
Other sources for Sylvester's life include:

- Steven Weintraub