# Mathematician:Duncan MacLaren Young Sommerville

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## Mathematician

Scots mathematician best known for his work in geometry, including non-Euclidean.

A founder, and first secretary, of the New Zealand Astronomical Society.

## Nationality

Scots

## History

- Born: 24 Nov 1879, Beawar, Rajasthan, India
- 1899: Awarded a scholarship for University of St Andrews in Scotland
- 1902: Started teaching at St Andrews
- 1905: Appointed Lecturer in Mathematics at St Andrews
- 1915: Appointed as Professor of Pure and Applied Mathematics at Victoria College Wellington, New Zealand
- 1919: Began to tutor A.C. Aitken with a weekly correspondence
- Died: 31 Jan 1934, Wellington, New Zealand

## Theorems and Definitions

- 1905: proved that there are eleven Archimedean tilings

## Publications

- 1911:
*Bibliography of non-Euclidean Geometry, including the Theory of Parallels, the Foundations of Geometry and Space of n Dimensions*

- 1911:
*Concrete Representations of Non-Euclidean Geometry*(*University of Saint Andrews Five Hundredth Anniversary Memorial Volume*pp. 3 – 45) (edited by William Carmichael McIntosh, John Edward Aloysius Steggall and James Colquhoun Irvine)

- 1914: Elements of Non-Euclidean Geometry

- 1924:
*Analytical Conics*- 1929:
*Analytical Conics, 2nd ed.* - 1933:
*Analytical Conics, 3rd ed.*

- 1929:

- 1929:
*Introduction to Geometry of n dimensions* - 1934:
*Analytical Geometry of Three Dimensions*

## Critical View

*His scholarly and unobtrusive demeanour as a young lecturer won the admiration of his colleagues and pupils in St Andrews where his teaching left a permanent mark. While he was essentially a geometer he had considerable interests in other sciences, and it is noteworthy that the classes which he chose to attend in his fourth year of study had been Anatomy and Chemistry. Crystallography in particular appealed to him, and doubtless these possible outlets influenced his geometrical concepts and led Sommerville to ponder over space filling figures, and gave an early impetus to thoughts in a field he made particularly his own. He had an original mind, and beneath his outward shyness considerable talents lay concealed: his intellectual grasp of geometry was balanced by a deftness in making models, and on the aesthetic side by an undoubted talent with the brush.*

*His books are adequate, but occasionally muddled, and could have done with being restructured in places.*

## Also known as

His name can also be rendered **Duncan M'Laren Young Sommerville**.

## Sources

- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "Duncan MacLaren Young Sommerville": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

- 1991: David Wells:
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