Edmund Wingate

(c. 1596—1656) mathematician and legal writer

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Henry Briggs (1561—1630) mathematician

Henry Gellibrand (1597—1636) mathematician

Samuel Hartlib (c. 1600—1662) educational reformer and writer


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Edmund Wingate was baptized at Flamborough, Yorkshire on 11 June 1596 and died in London in December 1656. The son of a Bedfordshire landowner, he matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, in 1610, graduating BA in 1614 and proceeding immediately to Gray's Inn. Over the next few years Wingate pursued mathematics in London, befriending such Gresham Professors as Henry Briggs and especially Edmund Gunter. In 1624 we find him in Paris serving as English tutor to Henrietta Maria, and in that year he published L'Usage de la reigle de proportion en l'arithmétique & géométrie – an account of Gunter's logarithmic scale rule that he had advertised for some time among local mathematicians. Wingate claimed that he was forced to publish the book in order to forestall a local plagiarist who derived his knowledge from Wingate. An English edition, The Construction and use of the Line of Proportion, was published in London in 1628. It was also in Paris that he published in 1626 Arithmétique logarithmétique, a methodical abridgement of Briggs's Arithmetica logarithmica. Wingate's French publications evidently raised issues of propriety. Shortly before the London publication in 1635 of a revised English edition of the latter work ‘Logarismotechnia’; or, The construction and use of the logarithmeticall tables, Henry Gellibrand, incensed at the seeming appropriation by Wingate of the labour and reputation of his predecessors at Gresham College, told Hartlib that not only was Wingate's book unprofitable, but the author had neither ‘honesty nor Conscience’. For his part, Wingate continued to publish mathematical textbooks. In 1630 there appeared his Arithmetiqve made easie, in two bookes – a popular textbook that was augmented in 1650 by John Kersey under Wingate's supervision, and which achieved its tenth edition before the century was over – and in 1633 he published a ‘Table of Logarithmes of the Right Sines and Tangents of all the Degrees and Minutes of the Quadrant’, appended to Nathaniel Roe's Tabulæ logarithmicœ.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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