Other institutions in Cambridge

Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS)

Was created in 1964 in a converted warehouse at 16 Mill Lane, where it still is. It has a few historical items. In the Head's office is the famous unique portrait inscribed 'Robt. Recorde M.D. 1556'. However recent cleaning caused the inscription to vanish and 'Aetat suae 63 Ao 1631' appeared instead. Expert examination indicates that the painting is probably Flemish and is consistent with the date 1631, so this is not a Recorde. (An article wrongly asserts that this portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London in the early 1920s.) The Department also has the 12 three dimensional models of the sections of some four dimensional polytopes constructed by Alicia Boole Stott (1860-1940), daughter of George Boole, presented by her nephew, Sir G. I. Taylor. It also has H. T. Flather's "very beautiful set of miniature models of all the fifty-nine [stellations of the icosahedron]". These are in the glass cases adjacent to room G19, along with many other 19C models, all sadly decaying. (The stellated icosahedra were not on display when I visited in Sep 1991, but in 1992 I discovered they are now in the Department Library.) The Department also has J. C. P. Miller's card models of polyhedra, but these are in storage--some in the Department storeroom and some in the Department Library Staff Room--and many of the labels have come off. I have not located the wire models shown in the famous paper by Coxeter et al. on uniform polyhedra. The Department Library is housed in the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms and a bust of Ramanujan was placed there in 1986.

Isaac Newton Research Institute

This opened at 20 Clarkson Road in 1992. Michael Atiyah was the creative force and first head. On 23 Jun 1993, Andrew Wiles described his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, announcing his result at 10:30 am. In fact it took a bit over a year for all the gaps and details to be filled in.

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)

This is in the same block as DPMMS, but its entrance is in Silver Street. Its Dirac Library has a bust of Dirac by Gabriella Bollobás.

Botanic Garden

In Trumpington Road, to the South, has a 'Newton' apple tree, grown from a cutting of the one at Kew. The tree at Trinity is taken from a cutting of this tree. The one at Kew is believed to be grown from a cutting of the original (?) tree.

Whipple Museum of the History of Science

South end of Free School Lane, in part of the old Cavendish Laboratories. Its several cases of mathematical instruments include a circular slide rule c. 1640 and an early vernier scale, an unlabelled fragment of Babbage's Difference Engine and the 17C Florentine thermometer presented to Babbage by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Cambridge Philosophical Society

Founded by Adam Sedgwick and John Stevens Henslow in 1819. Babbage, John Herschel and Whewell were original Fellows. The Society is considered to be an outgrowth of the Analytical Society of 1812-1814?, formed by Babbage, Bromhead, J. Herschel, Peacock et al. Its library has now become the Scientific Periodical Library of the University. It has always had an especial interest in mathematics and many mathematicians have been President: Peacock (1841-1843); Whewell (1843-1845); Stokes (1859-1861); J. C. Adams (1861-1863); Cayley (1869-1871); Maxwell (1875-1877); Glaisher (1882-1889); G. H. Darwin (1890-1892 & 1910-1912); Thomson (1894-1896); Larmor (1898-1900); Baker (1902-1904); Hobson (1906-1908); Lamb (1926-1928); Yule (1928-1930); Hodge (1947-1949); G. I. Taylor (1967-1968). Airy first described astigmatism and how to correct it, based on observations and work on his own eyes, in an 1825 paper in the Proceedings.

Great St Mary's

The University Church. In 1793, Joseph Jowett and William Crotch composed quarter hour chimes for the clock. These were later used for Big Ben and hence throughout the world and are commonly, but inappropriately, known as the Westminster Chimes.


The bookshop at the corner of Trinity and Market Streets (now a branch of Heffer's?) is the oldest continuous bookshop in England--books have been sold here since 1581.

Ascension Burial Ground

Formerly St. Giles' (with St. Peter's) Cemetery, contains many notable mathematicians. The entrance is on Huntingdon Road, along the roadway between numbers 145 & 147, currently only marked with a sign for 145A. One can obtain the very informative leaflet by Slater from the custodian. With a little effort one can locate the following graves, which often include wives and other relatives. J. C. Adams (1819-1892); R. S. Ball; W. W. Rouse Ball; William Henry Besant (Fellow of St. John's who wrote on mathematics); J. D. Cockcroft (1897-1967); Horace Darwin (1851-1928--and several other Darwins); A. S. Eddington; Horace Lamb (1849-1934); John Bascombe Lock (1849-1921, Fellow of Gonville & Caius who wrote on trigonometry); Alfred Marshall (1842-1924, the pioneer economist, Fellow of St. John's, Professor of Economics (1885-1908)); E. A. Maxwell (1907-1987, not mentioned by Slater); G. E. Moore (1873-1958, the philosopher, Fellow of Trinity); Arthur Stanley Ramsey (1867-1954) and his son, Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903-1930), (the other son, Michael, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, is not here); H. M. Taylor (described at Trinity Antechapel); Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). Also A. C. Benson, author, best known for his words to 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

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An extract from The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles created by David Singmaster