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Barrow, Isaac

1. Dates
Born: London, Oct. 1630
Died: London, 4 May 1677.
Dateinfo: 47
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
Thomas Barrow was a linen-draper with connections with the court.
It appears that he was prosperous, until the Puritan victory.
3. Nationality
Birth: England
Career: England
Death: England
4. Education
Schooling: Cambridge, M.A.
Charterhouse; Felsted in Essex.
University of Cambridge (Trinity), 1646-52; B.A., 1648; M.A., 1652.
Bachelor of Divinity, 1661 (I don't list this).
5. Religion
Affiliation: Anglican
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics,
Subordinate: Optics.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia
Secondary: Patronage, Church Life
Patronage of Martin Holbeach, Dr. Duport and Henry
Hammond during the interregnum.
Professor, 1660-9: Professor of Greek in the U. of Cambridge, 1660-2. Professor of geometry in Gresham College, 1662-3. Professor of mathemetics in the U. of Cambridge, 1663-9.
Royal chaplain in London, 1669- .
He also received a sinecure from his uncle, a bishop, and in 1671 a prebend in Salisbury.
Master of Trinity.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Eccesiastic Official, Gentry, Merchant, Academic
Minor patronage before the Restoration:
Ecclessiastical Officer: Henry Hammond, the great Oxford Divine, gave him monetary assistance before 1660.
Dr. Duport, professor of Cambridge, promised to coach him for nothing in 1640s. Before Duport, Thomas Hill, the Master of Trinity, helped Barrow.
During the Interregnum members of the Walpole family gave Barrow support and led him to enroll in Trinity.
Barrow dedicated his Euclid (1656) to three fellow-commoners of Trinity: Edward Cecil (son of the Earl of Salisbury), John Knatchbull (heir of Sir Norton K.), and Francis Willughby.
He dedicated his edition of Euclid's Data (1657) to James Stock, a London merchant whom Barrow met in Paris. Stock is described as Barrow's generous patron; he died, however, in 1658.
The English Ambassador to Constantinople, Sir Thomas Bendish, housed Barrow there for a year and a half, and the merchant Jonathan Dawes gave him financial support.
John Wilkins was the Master of Trinity when Barrow returned. He became Barrow's chief patron. Wilkins recommended him for the professorship in Gresham College in 1662, and also was responsible for his position of professor of geometry in Cambridge.
Barrow got the professorship in 1660 by royal order, and was created D.D. in 1670 by royal mandate. He was made University Vice-chancellor and Master of Trinity by order of the king.
In 1661 he obtained a letter patent allowing him, as Regius Professor, to retain his fellowship.
In Barrow's appointment as Master, the Duke of Buckingham and Archbishop Sheldon were pivotal.
Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, gave Barrow a prebend at Salisbury, which Barrow resigned when he became Master of Trinity.
Note that Barrow was University Vice-Chancellor, 1675, as the King's choice.
(Sources on patronage: H. Osmond, Isaac Barrow, His Life and Times, pp. 13-14, 98-99. Also Feingold, pp. 1-104.)
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Royal Society
Informal connections: Intimate frienship with John
Ray; the relation with Newton.
Royal Society, 1662.
  1. H. Osmond, Isaac Barrow, His Life and Times, (London, 1944), pp. 13-14, 40, 85, 98-99, 103. LF294 .B308
  2. Mordechai Feingold, ed., Before Newton. The Life and Times of Isaac Barrow, (Cambridge, 1990), especially Feingold, "Isaac Barrow: Divine, Scholar, Mathematician," pp. 1-104.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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