Jurin, James

, born in 1684, and a physician of the mathematical sect, was educated in Trinity college, Cambridge, of which he was fellow in 1711. He was afterwards well known in London as an eminent physician; was physician to Guy’s hospital, and was, during several years, an active member and secretary of the royal society, and at the time of his death in 1750, president of the college of physicians. He distinguished himself by a series of ingenious essays, published in the Philosophical Transactions in 1718, 1719, &c. and afterwards printed collectively, in 1732, under the title of “Physico-Mathematical Dissertations,” in which mathematical science was applied with considerable acuteness to physiological subjects. These papers involved him in several controversies; first with Keill, in consequence of his calculations in regard to the force of the contractions of the heart, against which also Senac published some objections, which he answered. To Smith’s System of Optics, published in 1738, Jurin added “An Essay upon distinct and indistinct Vision,” in which he made subtle calculations of the changes necessary to be made in the figure of the eye to accommodate it to the different distances of objects. This paper was commented on by Robins, to whom Jurin wrote a reply. He had likewise controversies with Michelotti respecting the force of running water, and with the philosophers of the school of Leibnitz on living forces. He communicated to the royal society some experiments made with a view to determine the specific gravity of the human, | blood, and he contributed much to the improvement of their meteorological observations. He was a warm partisan and an active defender of the practice of inoculation; and in several publications, giving an account of its success from 1723 to 1727, established its utility upon the true foundation of a comparison between the respective mortality of the casual and the inoculated small-pox. Dr. Jurin was also editor of Varenius’s Geography, 2 vols. 8vo, 1712, published at the request of sir Isaac Newton and Dr. Bentley. In “The Works of the Learned” for 1737 S 9, he carried on a controversy with Dr. Pemberton, in defence of Newton, and signed his papers “Philalethes Cantabrigiensis.1


Rees’s Cyclopædia. Nichols’s Bowyer, —Works of the Learned, ubi supra, and also vol. for 1741.