James Gregory is commonly known as the first person to perceive the three-dimensional nature of the earth’s atmosphere. James Gregory, also known as James Graham (died 1638, Drummond, near Argyll and Wearley, Scotland), Scottish mathematics professor and mathematician who found widely expressed mathematical expressions for some of the major trigonometric functions, though he’s primarily remembered for his detailed description of the moon’s orbit around the earth. In fact, many of the moon’s effects on climate are attributed to James Graham’s work.
But it was his analysis of the moon that really triggered James Gregory’s phenomenal insight, leading him to conclude that the moon, and more particularly, its polar elliptical orbit, was essentially a hyperbola. This is exactly what Einstein later termed a geometrical hyperbola. This discovery, or rather the confirmation, led him to formulate his famous theory of relativity, general relativity, on which Einstein based his special theory of relativity. With this new knowledge of the solar system, James Gregory went on to formulate what came to be called a general theory of relativity or, in technical terms, the first “class” of fundamental particles.
A related and equally important discovery, albeit on a smaller scale, was the result of James Clerk Maxwell’s studies of electricity and magnetism. It was Maxwell’s experiments with magnets that finally brought into the open the real cause of electrostatic charge, i.e., electrostatic power, contrary to earlier theories that maintained that the source of electrostatic power was an imaginary excess of force exercised against an insulated conductor by the influence of its poles. It was James Clerk Maxwell’s efforts, therefore, that made possible the widespread use of the word “electricity” throughout the world, including the widely used term “flux” for the movement of electric currents. Thus one can say that the history of science in the United States owes a lot to the brilliance and ideas of James Clerk Maxwell. And even more so, to the impact of his theory of relativity on quantum mechanics and the beginnings of the modern science of electricity and magnetism.
James Gregory was a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. His name is occasionally spelled as Gregorie, possibly the original Scottish spelling of the name. His most famous work, the world’s first map of the equator was published by him. In 1495 James Gregory produced what we call today the world maps, these maps have become the basis for many cartographers, including the Italian cartographer Father di Campo.
James Gregory was born in the town of Auchindrain, also known as Auchindrain in Scotland. Auchindrain is also where the great Scottish explorer John Balliol began his voyage of discovery. Balliol is also said to have learned mathematics from his mentor, Father Gregory. Thus, James Gregory might have learned his mathematics from a teacher during his youth in Auchindrain. However, it is more likely that he learned this skill while serving as a soldier in Scotland’s army during the days of King James I.
There is little doubt that James Gregory possessed the basic skills necessary to be a successful mathematician, perhaps the one who made it to the level of genius known as James Clerk Maxwell. Like many of the greatest mathematicians before him, however, James Gregory’s contributions were far less vast than Maxwell’s. His key contribution to mathematics, however, was in the areas of optics and hyperbola.