Mathematician:William Jones

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Welsh mathematician who has recently come to notice for being the first to use the symbol $\pi$ (pi) in print to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Close friend of Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley.

On his death, left behind him a library of about $15 \, 000$ books, which was probably the most valuable library of mathematics in England. This has only recently been fully dispersed.




  • Born: 1675 in Llanfihangel Tre'r Beirdd, Isle of Anglesey
  • 1695 -- 1702: Served at sea, teaching mathematics on board Navy ships
  • 1702: Started a career lecturing on mathematics in coffee-houses
  • November 1711: Became a Fellow of the Royal Society, later its president
  • Died: 3 July 1749 in London, England



  • 1702: A New Compendium of the Whole Art of Navigation
  • 1706: Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos in which $\pi$ (pi) first appeared in print
  • 1711: Analysis per quantitatum series, fluxiones ac differentias
  • 1731: Discourses of the Natural Philosophy of the Elements