# 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wallace, William (Scottish mathematician)

**WALLACE, WILLIAM** (1768-1843), Scottish mathematician,
was born on the 23rd of September 1768 at Dysart in Fifeshire,
where he received his school education. In 1784 his family
removed to Edinburgh, where he himself was set to learn the
trade of a bookbinder; but his taste for mathematics had
already developed itself, and he made such use of his leisure
hours that before the completion of his apprenticeship he had
made considerable acquirements in geometry, algebra and
astronomy. He was further assisted in his studies by John
Robison (1739-1805) and John Playfair, to whom his abilities
had become known. After various changes of situation, dictated
mainly by a desire to gain time for study, he became assistant
teacher of mathematics in the academy of Perth in 1794, and
this post he exchanged in 1803 for a mathematical mastership
in the Royal Military College at Great Marlow (afterwards at
Sandhurst). In 1819 he was chosen to succeed John Leslie in the
chair of mathematics at Edinburgh, and in 1838, when compelled
by ill-health to retire, he received a government pension for life.
He died in Edinburgh on the 28th of April 1843.

Leybourne's *Mathematical Repository* and the *Gentleman's*
*Mathematical Companion*. Between 1801 and 1810 he contributed articles
on “Algebra,” “Conic Sections,” “Trigonometry,” and several
others in mathematical and physical science to the fourth edition of
the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and some of these were retained in
subsequent editions from the fifth to the eighth inclusive. He was
also the author of the principal mathematical articles in the
*Edinburgh Encyclopaedia*, edited by David Brewster (1808-1830). He
also contributed many important papers to the *Transactions* of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh.

*Transactions of the Roy. Ast. Soc.*, 1844.