Kelland, Philip (DNB00)

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KELLAND, PHILIP (1808–1879), mathematician, son of Philip Kelland (d. 1847), curate of Dunster, Somerset, and afterwards rector of Landcross, Devonshire, was born at Dunster in 1808. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1834 and proceeded M.A. in 1837, becoming senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman in 1834. After taking holy orders, he was for three years a tutor of his college. In 1838 he was appointed professor of mathematics in the university of Edinburgh, being the first Englishman with an entirely English education who was admitted to a chair in the university. He thoroughly identified himself with the Scottish university system, and took an active part in the movement for reform which resulted in the appointment of the commission of 1858 and the ultimate release of the university from the control of the town council. Until 1867 he was secretary of the Senatus Academicus, and took an active part in the school and medical examinations in Edinburgh. On 6 Dec. 1838 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1839 became a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was president from November 1878 to his death; to its ‘Transactions’ during forty-one years he contributed numerous papers. In 1852 he was chosen a member of the Society of Arts of Edinburgh, and held the office of president in the session of 1853–4. When Professor James D. Forbes, who occupied the chair of natural philosophy, was incapacitated through illness, Kelland, with the assistance of Balfour Stewart [q. v.], discharged the duties of the chair at intervals from 1852 until 1856. He took much interest in the Life Association of Scotland, of which he was one of the founders, and conducted the septennial investigation of its affairs from the actuarial point of view. In this connection he made a tour in Canada and the United States in 1858. Occasionally he officiated in St. James's and other episcopal churches in Edinburgh. In physical science he wrote on the motion of waves in canals and on various questions of optics, but he mainly devoted himself to pure mathematics; one of his most important papers was his ‘Memoir on the Limits of our Knowledge respecting the Theory of Parallels,’ in which he dealt with non-Euclidean geometry. Almost his latest work, and that which is most worthy of his reputation as a mathematician, is the article ‘Algebra’ in the ninth edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica.’ As a teacher he was unequalled. He died at Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, on 7 May 1879. He married, first, Miss Pilkington, a Dublin lady, and, secondly, Miss Boswell of Wardie.

He was the author or editor of: 1. ‘Theory of Heat,’ 1837. 2. ‘The Elements of Algebra,’ 1839; another edition 1860. 3. ‘Lectures on the Principles of Demonstrative Mathematics,’ 1843. 4. ‘A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy,’ by T. Young; new edit. 1845. 5. ‘The Scottish University System suited to the People,’ 1854. 6. ‘How to Improve the Scottish Universities,’ 1855. 7. ‘Transatlantic Sketches,’ 1858. 8. ‘Elements of Geometry,’ 1859. 9. ‘Algebra, a Complete and easy Introduction to Analytical Science,’ 1861. 10. ‘The Scottish School System suited to the People,’ 1870. 11. ‘Lessons on Physics,’ 1872. 12. ‘Introduction to Quaternions,’ 1873. The titles of twenty-eight papers by Kelland are given in the ‘Royal Society's Catalogue of Scientific Papers.’

[Proceedings of Royal Society, 1879, vol. xxix. pp. vii–x; Grant's Story of University of Edinburgh, 1884, ii. 304–5; Proceedings of Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1880, x. 208–11, 321–9, containing notices by Professor P. G. Tait, Sir Alexander Grant, and Professor Chrystal; Scotsman, 9 May 1879, p. 5; Times, 10 May 1879, p. 7, 10 June p. 12.]

G. C. B.