Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

Gunpowder and Geometry

The Life of Charles Hutton, Pit Boy, Mathematician and Scientific Rebel

Benjamin Wardhaugh



We can order this in for you
How long will it take?


18 February 2019
August, 1755. Newcastle, on the north bank of the Tyne.

In the fields, men and women are getting the harvest in. Sunlight, or rain. Scudding clouds and backbreaking labour. Three hundred feet underground, young Charles Hutton is at the coalface. Cramped, dust-choked, wielding a five-pound pick by candlelight. Eighteen years old, he's been down the pits on and off for more than a decade, and now it looks like a life sentence. No unusual story, although Charles is a clever lad - gifted at maths and languages - and for a time he hoped for a different life. Many hoped. Charles Hutton, astonishingly, would actually live the life he dreamed of. Twenty years later you'd have found him in Slaughter's coffee house in London, eating a few oysters with the President of the Royal Society. By the time he died, in 1823, he was a fellow of scientific academies in four countries, while the Lord Chancellor of England counted himself fortunate to have known him. Hard work, talent, and no small share of luck would take Charles Hutton out of the pit to international fame, wealth, admiration and happiness. The pit-boy turned professor would become one of the most revered British scientists of his day. This book is his incredible story.
By:   Benjamin Wardhaugh
Imprint:   HARPER360
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   390g
ISBN:   9780008299965
ISBN 10:   000829996X
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   18 February 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Benjamin Wardhaugh is a Fifty-pound Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His research focuses on the history of numeracy and mathematics, and the ways mathematics influences and is a part of cultures. His work focuses mainly on topics in early modern Britain, including mathematical music theory in that period. He has taught in both the Mathematical Institute and the History Faculty. He is the author of several previous educational books.

Reviews for Gunpowder and Geometry: The Life of Charles Hutton, Pit Boy, Mathematician and Scientific Rebel

Praise for Gunpowder and Geometry `Benjamin Wardhaugh tells an almost incredible story of a boy working down the put hewing coal who went on to become a great mathmatician and national celebrity. He brings both the coal industry and Georgian London to life with style and wit.' Matt Ridley Praise for Benjamin Wardhaugh: `Wardhaugh has done a brilliant job in revealing a most curious period in British life' Steve Craggs, Northern Echo `Mathematics remains a bedrock of our society. This wonderful book goes a long way in highlighting why.' Jamie Condliffe, New Scientist `Wardhaugh's fascinating account of Poor Robin's Almanac persuasively reveals the power of the almanac to give mathematics a human face.' Marcus du Sautoy `Wardhaugh's book should be readily available and kept with your personal reference books. It should also be in your school library.' Donald Cook, Mathematical Review

See Also