Robert Smith was probably born at Lea, near Gainsborough. He died in the lodge at Trinity College, Cambridge on 2 February 1768. He began his education at Leicester Grammar School, then moved in 1708 to live with his cousin Roger Cotes, Plumian Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, and studied at Trinity College. Awarded his BA in 1711, he became a Fellow in 1714, MA in 1715, and Cotes's successor as Plumian Professor in 1716. In May 1718 he became FRS. He then went on to have a distinguished career in Cambridge, succeeding Richard Bentley as Master of Trinity in 1742, and becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1742 to 1743. He held his professorship until 1760. A reclusive man who never married, Smith left munificent bequests to the University and his College, including a bequest for two ‘Smith's prizes’ to those junior BAs who made the best progress in mathematics and natural philosophy, respectively.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.