Anderson, Alexander

, an eminent mathematician, was born at Aberdeen towards the end of the sixteenth century. Where he was educated, or under what masters, we have not learned: probably he studied the belles lettres and philosophy in the university of his native city, and, as was the practice in that age of all who could afford it, went afterwards abroad for the cultivation of other branches of science. But wherever he studied, his progress must have been rapid; for early in the seventeenth century, we find him professor of mathematics in the university of Paris, where he published several ingenious works, and among others, “Supplementum Apollonii Redivivi, &c.Paris, 1612, 4to; “Afliotoyus, pro Zetetico Apolloniani problematis a se jam priclem edilo in supplemento Apollenii Redivivi, &c.Paris, 1615, 4to; “Francisci Vietae de Equationum recognitione et emendatione tractatus duo,” with a dedication, preface, and appendix by himself, Paris, 1615, 4to; “Vieta’s Angulares Sectiones:” to which he added demonstrations of his own.

Our professor was cousin german to Mr. David Anderson of Finshaugh, a gentleman who also possessed a singular turn for mathematical knowledge. This mathematical genius was hereditary in the family of the Andersons; and from them it seems to have been transmitted to their descendants of the name of Gregory, who have for so many generations been eminent in Scotland, as professors, either of mathematics, or, more lately, of the theory and practice of physic. The daughter of the David Anderson just mentioned, was the mother of the celebrated James Gregory, inventor of the reflecting telescope; and observing in her son, while yet a child, a strong propensity to -mathematical studies, she instructed him in the elements of that science herself. From the same lady descended the late Dr. Reid of Glasgow, who was not less eminent for his knowledge of mathematics than for his metaphysical writings. The precise dates of Alexander Anderson’s birth | and death, we have not learned either from Dempster, Mackenzie, or Dr. Hutton, who seems to have used every endeavour to procure information, nor are such of his relations as we have had an opportunity of consulting, so well acquainted with his private history as we expected to find them. 1


Supplement to the Eucyclop. Britan. —Hutton’s Mathematical Dictionary.