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Biographical entry Wilson, William Parkinson (1826 - 1874)

1 February 1826
Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England
11 December 1874
Victoria, Australia


William Wilson was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Melbourne, one of the University's four founding professors. Besides mathematics and natural philosophy, Wilson taught mechanics, meteorology, optics, and astronomy. He was instrumental in persuading the Council to offer Australia's first university engineering course, with students enrolling from 1861. His early interest in astronomy continued in Victoria where he was a leading advocate for the establishment of the Melbourne Observatory and served on its Board of Visitors. In 1871 Wilson led an expedition to Cape Sidmouth, Queensland, to observe a solar eclipse and in 1874 set up his own observatory at Mornington, Victoria. For his contributions to the Royal Society of Victoria (and its predecessor the Philosophical Institute) Wilson was made a Life Member.



Education - BA, University of Cambridge
1847 - 1857
Career position - Senior Wrangler, later Fellow, St John's College, Cambridge
1849 - 1853
Career position - Founding Professor of Mathematics, Queen's College, Belfast, Ireland
Education - MA, University of Cambridge
1854 - 1874
Career position - Founding Professor of Mathematics, University of Melbourne
Life event - Arrived in Melbourne
Career position - Vice-President, Philosophical Institute of Victoria
1857 - 1874
Career position - Life Member, Royal Society of Victoria

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Journal Articles

  • Cohen, Graeme, 'The appointment of the first four professors of mathematics in the University of Melbourne', Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society, 33 (1) (2006), 14-21. Details


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See also

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn