Joseph Wolstenholme

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Joseph Wolstenholme
Joseph Wolstenholme.jpg
Born (1829-09-30)September 30, 1829
Eccles, Greater Manchester
Died November 19, 1891(1891-11-19) (aged 62)
Nationality  United Kingdom
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
Known for Wolstenholme primes
Wolstenholme's theorem
Wolstenholme numbers
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Royal Indian Engineering College

Joseph Wolstenholme (September 30, 1829 – November 18, 1891) was an English mathematician.

Wolstenholme was born in Eccles near Salford, Lancashire, England. He graduated from St John's College, Cambridge as Third Wrangler in 1850 and was elected a fellow of Christ's College in 1852. Collaborating with Percival Frost, a Treatise on Solid Geometry was published in 1863.[1]

Wolstenholme served as Examiner in 1854, 1856, and 1863 for Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, and according to Andrew Forsyth his book Mathematical Problems[2] made a significant contribution to mathematical education:

...gathered together from many examination papers to form a volume, which was considerably amplified in later editions, they exercised a very real influence upon successive generations of undergraduates; and "Wolstenholme's Problems" have proved a help and stimulus to many students.

In 1869 he resigned his fellowship to marry Térèse Kraus, his Swiss bride. He became a professor of mathematics at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill, Egham near London from 1871 to 1889. In 1878 he published an expanded version of Mathematical Problems, and in 1888 Examples for Practice in the Use of Seven-figure Logarithms.

He was a close friend of Leslie Stephen from his undergraduate studies at Cambridge. Virginia Woolf used his personality for the character Augustus Carmichael in her novel To the Lighthouse. His sister was the feminist Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy.[3]


  1. ^ Percival Frost & J. Wolstenholme (1863) A Treatise on Solid Geometry, link from Hathitrust
  2. ^ J. Wolstenholme (1867) A Book of Mathematical Problems, on subjects included in the Cambridge course, London: Macmillan Publishers, link from Biodiversity Heritage Library
  3. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (2001), The women's suffrage movement: a reference guide, 1866-1928, London: Routledge, p. 188, ISBN 0-415-23926-5 

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