Gregory  David  16591708  professor of mathematics, University of Edinburgh, and Savilian Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford 

Biographical Information 

Occupation, Sphere of Activity 
David Gregory, nephew of the famous St Andrews mathematician James Gregorie (16381675), was born in Upper Kirkgate, Aberdeen, on 03 June, 1659. He was educated for a while at nearby Marischal College, was endowed financially by the murder of his older brother, and was set loose to pursue his private interests in maths, physics, and astronomy. Without graduating from Marischal, he unhorsed the mathematics chairman at Edinburgh University in a broadsheet debate in 1683 and took his job. He was given a hasty MA from Edinburgh for decorum's sake, and he taught mathematics for seven years, and also optics, mechanics, hydrostatics, and even anatomy. Towngown quarrels arose in 1689, turned gradually libellous, and eventually attracted the Hanoverian committee of visitation then scouring Scottish universities for Cartesians and other treasoners. Not holding any truly radical views on anything, Gregory nevertheless saw fit by 1691 to take a fresh appointment comfortably far away, in Oxford. This was the Savilian chair of astronomy, in which he spent the rest of his professional life. With his new post he was given another MA and a desultory MD, along with a nonfellow 'MA commoner' appointment in Balliol College and membership in the Royal Society. He took a quick trip to Flanders in 1693, then settled into productive teaching and publishing until1707, the year in which the Act of Union between Scotland and England drew him to work on government fiscal matters instead of science. He was chiefly responsible for rationalizing the Scottish Mint, even as his mentor Sir Isaac Newton was doing for the London Mint. His health failed him during his official travelling, and he died in a Maidenhead inn on 10 October, 1708. In his lectures and his principal textbook, Professor Gregory was the first to cast astronomy completely in the alloy of Newtonian gravitational principles. He also gave undergraduates an enduringly useful guide to optics, whose special contribution was to propose an achromatic telescope. More generally he extended his uncle's work on quadrature by infinite series, and shed light on vexing issues in mathematics and theoretical astronomy, including the catenary curve, eclipses, the 'parallax problem', and the Cassinian orbital model for comets. 
Relationships 
Three important professional relationships at home were with Sir Isaac Newton (16421727), Edmond Halley (1656  1742), and John Flamsteed (16461719). On the continent, Gregory maintained close correspondence with Jan Hudde (1628  1704) and Christiaan Huygens (1629  1695). 
Other Significant Information 
Notable publications: Exercitatio geometrica de dimensione
figurarum, ( Catoptricae et dioptricae sphaericae
elementa, ( Astronomiae physicae et geometricae elementa,
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Honours, Qualifications and Appointments 
1683: Appointed Professor of Mathematics, University of Edinburgh 1691: Appointed Savilian Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford 1692: Elected Member, Royal Society 
Notes 
List of sources for the biographical information: 