Atwood, George

Atwood, George
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 1746 England
d. July 1807 London, England
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English mathematician author of a theory on ship stability.
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Atwood was educated at Westminster School and entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1765 with a scholarship. He graduated with high honours (third wrangler) in 1796, and went on to become a fellow and tutor of his college. In 1776 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Eight years later, William Pitt the Younger (1759–1806) appointed him a senior officer of the Customs, this being a means of reimbursing him for the arduous and continuing task of calculating the national revenue. As a lecturer he was greatly renowned and his abilities as a calculator and as a musician were of a high order.
In the late 1790s Atwood presented a paper to the Royal Society that showed a means of obtaining the righting lever on a ship inclined from the vertical; this was a major step forward in the study of ship stability. Among his other inventions was a machine to exhibit the accelerative force of gravity.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1776.
Further Reading
A.M.Robb, 1952, Theory of Naval Architecture, London: Charles Griffin (for a succinct description of the various factors in ship stability, and the importance of Atwood's contribution).
FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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