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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


A treatise on solid geometry, by the Rev. Percival Frost
and the Rev. Joseph Wolstenholme

Cambridge and London, Macmillan and Co., 1863.
First edition


The 19th century saw major changes in undergraduate teaching at Cambridge and the emergence of private tutors responsible for helping students to master complex mathematical methods and their applications to physical problems, skills needed for the increasingly challenging and competitive exams faced in the tripos. After graduating from St. John’s College in 1839, Percival Frost (1817-1898) became a well-known and highly respected tutor with a long career. He taught Joseph Wolstenholme (1829-1891), who graduated from St. John’s in 1850, although Wolstenholme apparently declined to be acknowledged as joint author on subsequent editions of this book. To accompany courses at Cambridge, or to fill gaps in the material available for study, treatises such as this were important, and it was not uncommon for graduates to produce books aimed at the current students.

 George Darwin (tutored himself by Edward Routh, perhaps most famous of the Cambridge coaches) appears to have acquired this copy in February 1865, while a 19 year old student at Trinity. Small annotations throughout the book are often corrections, some known from the errata notice included after the Preface, perhaps indicating that Darwin used it to accompany his own studies.




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