Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Edwin A. Abbott (#95)

Background and Education

Edwin Abbott Abbott was born on December 20, 1838. His mother, Jane Abbott, as a first cousin of his father, Marylebone Abbott, which explains the two Abbotts in his name. He was educated at the City of London School and later, at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he took highest honors in classics, mathematics, and theology. In 1861, he was Smith's prize, a prize given to Cambridge students in the fields of theoretical Physics or mathematics. 

Teacher and Writer

In 1863, Abbott married Mary Elizabeth Rangeley, with whom he would have two children. After getting his master's degree at King Edward's School, he became the headmaster of the City of London School in 1865. As headmaster, he oversaw the education of H.H. Asquith, who would one day become the Prime Minister. As headmaster, Abbott began to write, and he continued to do so even after he retired in 1889. Abbott's works, including Shakespearian Grammar, Silanus the Christian, and The Kernel and the Husk covered a wide range of topics from the English language to theological discussion. He also wrote an article, "The Gospels", for the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and a textbook on the Latin language.. He also wrote biographies on several people, including Francis Bacon and St. Thomas of Canterbury. His most famous work, however, is Flatland (1884), which he wrote under the name 'A. Square.' In Flatland, Abbott writes about a two-dimensional world which is populated by shapes. In this book, Abbott discuss how life would function in a two-dimensional world and what it would take to get shapes to understand other dimensions.

The End

Abbott died of influenza on October 12, 1926. Abbott is on our list because he thought outside of the box. He looked into the matter of how a population would function in a two-dimensional world, and he made fun of the fact that people believe there was no fourth dimension simply because they could not imagine how a fourth dimension would look. He also wrote a whole book on how Shakespeare's grammar worked, which is a feat of its own.

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