John Wallis - Mathematician

Felsted School 1629-1634

Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University and introduced the infinity symbol. John was a scholar whilst at Felsted and continued his studies at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he centred his interests on mathematics.

He gained a reputation as a decoder of cryptograms rendering great help to the Parliamentarian party through the deciphering of Royalist dispatches. He identified that use of a variable key in cryptography was far more secure than other methods even describing them as ‘unbreakable’. Wallis was a founding member of the Royal Society.

He gained an international reputation as an outstanding mathematician and in his published work Arithmetica Infinitorum, he provided the foundation for the differential calculus. He invented a method of imparting to the deaf the art of speech and has a classroom at Felsted and indeed an asteroid named in his honour.
 

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