John Craig

Born: 1663 in Hoddam, Dumfries, Scotland
Died: 11 Oct 1731 in London, England

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John Craig was a pupil of David Gregory in Edinburgh. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1684 and graduated in 1687. Two years later he went to England and became a curate. He continued his career was in the church and was vicar at a number of places in Wiltshire. He also tutored mathematics taking pupils at his home.

Craig became a friend of Newton. He also continued his contacts with David Gregory and corresponded with other Scottish mathematicians such Maclaurin.

Craig published 3 major works which contain the earliest example of the dy/dx notation of Leibniz in Britain and also contained the integration symbol integral. While he was still a student in Edinburgh, Craig published Methodus figurarum lineis rectis et curvis comprehensarum quadraturas determinandi which contains Leibniz's notation. This notation is also used in the work he published in 1693, Tractatus mathematicus de figurarum curvilinearum quadraturis et locis geometricis.

Craig was involved in a dispute with Jacob Bernoulli over the calculus. He also had a dispute with Tschirnhaus.

Craig published several more papers on the logarithmic curve, the curve of quickest descent and quadrature of figures.

In 1699 he published Theologiae Christianae Principia Mathematica which applies probability to show that the evidence of the truth of the gospels is diminished through time. He claimed that it reaches 0 in the year 3144, so "proves" that this is an upper bound for the second coming.

In 1718 he published a work on optics De optica analytica.

In the last part of his life Craig went to London in the hope that his mathematical abilities would be noticed. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1711.

References (3 books/articles)

References elsewhere in this archive:

John Craig was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1711. You can see a history of the Royal Society and a list of the members among the mathematicians in our archive.

Other Web sites:

Rice University, USA

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JOC/EFR December 1996