William Makeham

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William Matthews Makeham (1826–1891) was an English actuary and mathematician.

Makeham was responsible for proposing the age-independent Makeham term in the Gompertz–Makeham law of mortality that, together with the exponentially age-dependent Gompertz term, was one of the most effective theories to describe human mortality.[1]

Makeham was responsible for two important studies on human mortality:[2]

  • "On the Law of Mortality and the Construction of Annuity Tables." J. Inst. Actuaries and Assur. Mag. 8, 301–310, 1860.
  • "On an Application of the Theory of the Composition of Decremental Forces." J. Inst. Actuaries and Assur. Mag. 18, 317–322, 1874.


  1. ^ Andrew I. Dale, A History of Inverse Probability: From Thomas Bayes to Karl Pearson, p. 489 ff.
  2. ^ Wolfram Mathworld, "Makeham Curve"