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English mathematician credited with the invention of the slide rule.
Also credited with inventing a circular version although precedence for this was disputed with his student Richard Delamain.
Experimented with notations in his famously compact writings, inventing some new symbology which stuck, notably $\times$, $\sin$ and $\cos$.
Among others, he may have been influential in the introduction of the symbol $\pi$ for pi, using an abbreviation for the Greek word for periphery (that is, περιφέρεια).
His invention of $\times$ for multiplication came in for criticism from Leibniz for being too similar to the letter $x$. Leibniz's preference $\cdot$ is now widespread.
- Born: 5 March 1574, Eton, Buckinghamshire, England
- Died: 30 June 1660, Albury, Surrey, England
- 1631: Clavis Mathematicae
- 1632: Circles of Proportion and the Horizontal Instrument
- 1633: Mathematicall Recreations (translation of Récréations Mathématiques by Henry van Etten)
- 1657: Trigonometrie
- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "William Oughtred": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
- 1986: David Wells: Curious and Interesting Numbers ... (previous) ... (next): A List of Mathematicians in Chronological Sequence
- 1997: David Wells: Curious and Interesting Numbers (2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): A List of Mathematicians in Chronological Sequence
- 1998: David Nelson: The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Oughtred, William (1575-1660)
- 2008: David Nelson: The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Oughtred, William (1575-1660)
- but beware of the mistake in the year of birth
- 2008: Ian Stewart: Taming the Infinite ... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $4$: Lure of the Unknown: Algebraic symbolism