## James Joseph Sylvester: Jewish Mathematician in a Victorian WorldHere, in this first biographical study of James Joseph Sylvester, Karen Hunger Parshall makes a signal contribution to the history of mathematics, Victorian history, and the history of science. A brilliant Cambridge student at first denied a degree because of his faith, Sylvester came twice to America to teach mathematics, ultimately becoming one of Daniel Coit Gilman's faculty recruits at Johns Hopkins in 1876 and winning the coveted Savilian Professorship of Geometry at Oxford in 1883. He held professorships of natural philosophy, worked as an actuary, was called to the bar, and taught mathematics to cadets training for engineering and artillery posts in the British Army. During his long, distinguished career he also edited England's Situating Sylvester's life within the political, religious, mathematical, and social currents of nineteenth-century England, Parshall penetrates the myth of this venerated figure, revealing how he lived, the choices he made and why, how the world in which he lived affected him—and how he affected that world. The story of Sylvester's life sheds light on the evolution of mathematical thought. It also examines the ways in which mathematics may be done and what factors may shape a mathematician's ideas. Parshall explores the development of academic professionalization, nineteenth-century mathematical culture, and the emergence of modern algebra as a mathematical discipline. She highlights the human side of what many view as that most arcane and otherworldly of intellectual endeavors, mathematics, which indeed answers to such diverse factors as religion, ego, and depression. |

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### Contents

James Joseph Sylvester The Myth the Mathematician the Man | 1 |

Born to the Faith in Which the Founder of Christianity Was Educated | 9 |

The Josephs of Liverpool | 11 |

The Abraham Joseph Family of London | 16 |

The Royal Institution School Liverpool | 22 |

A Price of Dissent | 26 |

Cambridge Debates Dissent | 27 |

Within the Walls of St Johns | 29 |

HardWon Victories | 176 |

The Uneasy Years | 192 |

Victorian England and Educational Reform | 193 |

Reform and the Royal Military Academy Woolwich | 196 |

Taking on Huxley | 201 |

The BAAS and Science Education | 206 |

Poetry Soothes the Soul | 211 |

Life after Woolwich | 215 |

A TwoYear Hiatus | 36 |

Back at St Johns | 38 |

The 1837 Tripos | 43 |

The Hollow Walls of Academe | 49 |

An Unexpected Opportunity | 51 |

Professor of Natural Philosophy at University College London | 55 |

Looking beyond England | 64 |

Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia | 69 |

Struggling against an Adverse Tide of Affairs | 76 |

Actuary by Day Mathematician by Night | 81 |

An Emergent Professional Man | 83 |

J J Sylvester Esq MA FRS Actuary and Secretary | 85 |

The Institute of Actuaries | 92 |

Mathematician or Actuary? | 94 |

Establishing a Mathematical Routine | 101 |

Into the InvariantTheoretic Unknown | 107 |

Crafting the New Algebra | 112 |

The Problem of Syzygies | 122 |

From Actuary to Academic? | 130 |

A New Beginning | 137 |

Changing Responsibilities | 138 |

The Royal Military Academy Woolwich | 144 |

Professor of Mathematics Once More | 147 |

A Roving Mathematical Eye | 156 |

At War with the Military | 161 |

Temporary Truce | 165 |

Second Battle | 171 |

New Possibilities on the Horizon? | 219 |

Exploring Familiar Ground on Unfamiliar Territory | 225 |

First Impressions | 226 |

Getting Started | 229 |

Thriving in the Graduate Classroom | 235 |

Launching the American Journal of Mathematics | 239 |

Sustaining the American Journal of Mathematics | 243 |

Tackling New Challenges in a Home Away from Home | 249 |

From Invariant Theory to the Theory of Numbers | 254 |

From Number Theory to Universal Algebra | 262 |

A Troubled Transition to the Theory of Partitions | 267 |

Henry Smith Is Dead | 273 |

A Bittersweet Victory | 278 |

An Oxford in Transition | 279 |

Between Two Worlds | 285 |

A Rocky Year | 293 |

Hopkins in Oxfordshire? | 296 |

The Final Transition | 304 |

Increasing Signs of Age | 305 |

An International Competition | 313 |

A Steady Decline | 317 |

The Final Years | 326 |

James Joseph Sylvester The Man and His Legacies | 329 |

Notes | 339 |

References | 419 |

447 | |