Points of Connection
DOI link for Points of Connection
Points of Connection book
There are two types of connections that are relevant to Abraham De Moivre’s career: personal and intellectual. Personal connections are defined by the network of friends, acquaintances and colleagues that are built socially, professionally, and through the workplace. Certainly Abraham De Moivre met and interacted with numerous people during his lifetime, many of whom had a significant impact on his career. I would suspect that when asked to name De Moivre’s associates, historians of science would probably place Isaac Newton at the top of their list. There are many others on that list including Huguenot friends, fellows of the Royal Society, and members of landed families who acted as patrons for his teaching career and for his scientific publications. Intellectual connections are the chains of ideas that come together to produce new knowledge. Again, Newton, or more correctly, Newton’s work in mathematics and in physics (or what was called natural philosophy in Newton’s day), figure prominently among the ideas that stimulated De Moivre’s mathematical work. What can stimulate new knowledge is the bringing together of seemingly disparate ideas. Where Abraham De Moivre was most successful was in developing new areas of probability theory. There he melded together some traditional approaches to the calculation of probabilities with other areas of mathematics that typically had not been used in probability theory before. Newton’s binomial theorem and his work in infinite series were major stimuli for De Moivre’s work in probability.