Jonas Moore

(1617—1679) mathematician and patron of astronomy

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Jonas Moore was born at Whitelee, Lancashire on 8 February 1617 and died en route from Portsmouth to London on 25 August 1679. He was educated in one of the local Grammar Schools. In 1637 Moore obtained the position of clerk to Thomas Burwell, spiritual chancellor of the diocese of Durham, and he married the following year. Having been inclined to mathematics since childhood, Moore began a serious study of the subject (c.1640) under the tutelage of William Milburne, rector of Brancepeth. It was Milburne who probably introduced Moore to the astronomer William Gascoigne, who, in turn, introduced him to Christopher Towneley. It was in collaboration with these two enthusiastic mathematicians that Moore continued his studies, further benefiting from Towneley's giving him the use of his superb library. By 1641 Moore had become sufficiently versed in the mathematical sciences to venture into professing it publicly in Durham, but as the market for such a profession appears to have been limited in northern England, Moore opted to travel south. He sojourned first with William Oughtred, who not only provided him with additional advanced instruction, but also introduced him to members of the London community of mathematicians, among whom Moore had settled by November 1646 as a teacher of mathematics. A year later he was appointed mathematics tutor to James, Duke of York – an appointment that was cut short following the escape of his royal charge to the Continent. In 1650 Moore published his first book – Moores Arithmetick. In Two Books – a 400-page treatise on arithmetic and algebra, modelled on Oughtred's Clavis. Later that summer a more lucrative position came his way in the form of surveyor to the Earl of Bedford's Fen Drainage Company, an employment that continued for more than six years, and at the conclusion of which Moore published a large map of the drained area. He then resumed his teaching of mathematics in London.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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