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Colin Maclaurin Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician who was the first person to present the correct theory for distinguishing between the maximum and minimum values of a function and who played a vital role in establishing the dominance of Newton calculus in eighteenth century Great Britain. Although Maclaurin is regarded by many as one of the ablest mathematicians of the 18th century, his fame did not come easy. Six years after his birth in Kilmoden, his father died and his mother died before he was ten, leaving the remainder of his childhood and adolescent life to be raised by his uncle, an incumbent in the parish of Kilfinnan. Instilled with his many of his uncle's ideals, Maclaurin began his formal education in 1709 at the University of Glasgow studying divinity, however within the year , due largely to Robert Simpson's influence, the Professor of Mathematics for mathematics, he abandoned his study of divinity for his true calling, Mathematics.

Maclaurin quickly became a mathematical prodigy. At age fifteen he took his master's degree and gave a remarkable public defense of his thesis on the power of gravity, entitled, "On the Power of Gravity". At age 19 he was appointed the Professor of Mathematics at Marischal College of Aberdeen. In 1719, at age 21, he published his first important work called, Geometria organica. However, at this time, his life and study once again took another turn. Soon after befriending Issac Newton and being appointed to the Royal Academy in 1721, Maclaurin left Aberdeen, without official leave, to become the traveling tutor to the English Diplomat, Lord Polwath's oldest son. As he tutored, he continued to gain notoriety from his peers. For example, the French Academy of Science awarded him for his paper on "The Percussian of Bodies", (later included in substance in his treatise on fluxions). However, his pupil died in 1724, Maclaurin felt a longing to return to Scotland and his colleauges at Aberden. Since, he had forfeited his goodwill when he left Aberden, he went to Edinburgh to teach. At Edinburgh, Maclaurin had difficulty in obtaining a salary to cover his assistantship. Fortunately, thanks to Issac Newton offer to personally provide funds to secure Maclaurin's skills and Newton's benevolence, Maclaurin was appointed the Deputy Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh. Soon After he succeeded to the position of chair.

The for next twenty years Maclaurin focused much of his attention on his exposition on Newton's method of fluxions. Written mainly as a retort to Bishop Berkeley's attack on the principles of calculus and in an effort to provide a geometrical framework and logical justification for Newton's fluxion calculus , Maclaurin's, "The Treatise of Fluxions", was a widely praised and very powerful work in terms of its effect on the development mathematics at the time. In effect, "The Treatise of Fluxions" played a vital role in the dominance of Newtonian mathematics. This mathematics effectively cut off Britain's mathematical developments in Europe for the next three generations, leaving the continental mathematicians free to establish the foundation for modern mathematical analysis. Maclaurin also included many other important developments in , "The Treatise of Fluxions", his papers on the gravitational influence on tides, vital solutions to geometric problems and theories of attractions, and a method for defining the maximum and minimum points on a curve. The papers on the gravitational influence of tides, for instance, proved that an ellipsoid of evolution is formed whenever a homogeneous fluid mass under the action of gravity resolves uniformly about an axis.

In addition to his work on "The Treatise of Fluxions", Maclaurin spent the remainder of his years giving popular public and Edinburgh society lectures on physics and astronomy. Maclaurin also developed a specific theorem, which is a special case of the Taylor theorem, that can be used to find the series for functions such as loge, (1+x), ex, sin x, cos x, tan x, etc., where e is the base of natural logarithms. Unfortunately, Maclaurin died in 1745, a year and a half after he fell ill from oedema after organizing the defense of Edinburgh and just four years after the publication of his famed "The Treatise of Fluxions". Colin Maclaurin remains today as the first person to successfully present a logical and systematic exposition of Newton's fluxions and calculus.

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