Julian Lowell Coolidge was born September 28 1873 in Brookline and died on March 5, 1954 in Cambridge. A graduated 1895 from Harvard University (B.A.) and Oxford University (B.Sc 1897). He was the first house master of Lowell House (1929) and chairman of the Harvard University Mathematics Department during 1927-1940. He was MAA president in 1925. He was vice president of the AMS in 1918. Between 1897 and 1899 Julian Coolidge taught at the Groton School, then taught at Harvard from 1902 (as an instructor from 1899 on). After studies in Turin before he received his doctorate 1904 from the University of Bonn, where his advisor was Eduard Study. During WWI, Coolidge was a member of the American Expeditionary Force in France. After the war, Coolidge returned to Harvard where he became full professor in 1918. A biographical note written by Jermy Gray in Coolidge's "Amateurs" book states that Coolidge was a good teacher and also a decent runner, holding the Harvard record 4 Min 30.8 seconds for a mile. Coolidge authored various books:
  • (1909) The elements of non-Euclidean geometry, Oxford University Press
  • (1916) A treatise on the circle and the sphere, Oxford University Press
  • (1924) The geometry of the complex domain, The Clarendon Press
  • (1925) An introduction to mathematical probability, Oxford University Press
  • (1931) A Treatise on Algebraic Plane Curves, Oxford University Press
  • (1940) A history of geometrical methods,[6] Oxford University Press
  • (1945) History of the conic sections and quadric surfaces
  • (1949) The Mathematics Of Great Amateurs, Oxford University Press

Julian Lowell Coolidge, Ph.D. The Development of Harvard University, 1869-1929, Since the inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929 Chapter XV. Mathematics, 1870-1929

Edited by Samuel Eliot Morison, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1930
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Last update: 6/11/2004. Back to the department history page