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Julian Lowell Coolidge, 1925 MAA President

Born: September 28, 1873, Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: March 5, 1954, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Julian Lowell Coolidge was a Harvard mathematics professor and textbook author.

Presidency: 1925

Coolidge was vice president of the MAA in 1924 when he was elected president.

As president, he initiated the Chauvenet Prize to recognize outstanding mathematical expository articles. A committee consisting of A.J. Kempner, L.D. Cummings, and D.R. Curtiss worked out the details, and the first Chauvenet Prize was awarded in December 1925, with Coolidge contributing the $100 used for the award.

He gave his retiring presidential address at the December 1925 meeting, on "Robert Adrain and the Beginnings of American Mathematics."

Education and Career

1895 Harvard University, B.A.
1897 University of Oxford, B.Sc.
1902-1904 Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Ph.D.

Coolidge returned to Harvard as an instructor in 1899. He earned his Ph.D. on a two-year leave. He advanced to the rank of full professor by 1918 and held this position until he retired in 1940. He chaired the mathematics department starting in 1927.

Coolidge wrote books on geometry, probability, and the history of mathematics. His An Introduction to Mathematical Probability included some of his own original ideas. His The Elements of Non-Euclidean Geometry (1909) has been reprinted several times, most recently 100 years after its initial publication. Each of these books was among the first works on its subject written in English.

In the American Mathematical Society, he was on the council (1911-13, 1924-25), vice president (1918), and a trustee (1929-30).

External Resources

MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive biography

American Mathematical Monthly obituary

Papers of Julian Lowell Coolidge, 1894-1943

The Mathematics Genealogy Project