Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/George Atwood

ATWOOD, GEORGE, an author celebrated for the accuracy of his mathematical and mechanical investigations, and considered particularly happy in the clearness of his explana tions, and the elegance of his experimental illustrations, was born in the early part of the year 1746. He was educated at Westminster school, to which he was admitted in 1759. Six years afterwards he was elected off to Trinity College, Cambridge. He took his degree of ^Bachelor of Arts in 1769, with the rank of third wrangler and first Smith s prizeman. These distinctions were amply sufficient to give him a claim to further advancement in his own college. In due time he obtained a fellowship, and was afterwards one of the tutors of the college. He became Master of Arts in 1772, and in 1776 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In the year 1784 he ceased to reside at Cambridge, and soon afterwards received from Mr Pitt a patent office, which required but little of his attendance, and enabled him still to devote a consider able portion of his time to his special studies. He died in 1807. Atwood s published works, exclusive of papers contributed to the Philosophical Transactions, for one of which he obtained the Copley medal, are as follows : (1.) Analysis of a Course of Lectures on the Principles of Natural Philosophy, Cambridge, 1784. (2.) Treatise on the Rectilinear Motion and Rotation of Bodies, Cambridge, 1784, which contains a good account of the elementary principles of mechanics, though it is deficient in the appli cation of higher mathematical analysis. It also gives some interesting experiments, by means of which mechanical truths can be ocularly exhibited and demonstrated, and describes the machine, since called by Atwood s name, for verifying experimentally the laws of simple acceleration of motion. (3.) Review of the Statutes and Ordinances of Assize which have been established in England from the 4th year of King John, 1202, to the 37th of his present Majesty, London, 1801, a work of some historical research. (4.) Dissertation on the Construction and Properties of Arches, London, 1801, with supplement, pt. i. 1801, pt. ii. 1804, an elaborate and, in its time, valuable work, though it is now completely superseded.