Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GIBBS, Josiah Willard, philologist, born in Salem, Massachusetts, 30 April, 1790; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 25 March, 1861. He was graduated at Yale in 1809, and from 1811 till 1815 was connected with the College as tutor. Subsequently he spent some years at Andover, where he devoted himself to the study of Hebrew and biblical literature, producing at this time some of his most important works. In 1824 he was called to New Haven, and became professor of sacred literature in the theological school of Yale College, which chair he retained until his death. He also held the office of librarian from 1824 till 1843, and in 1853 received the degree of EL. D. from Princeton. Professor Gibbs was a constant contributor of articles on points of biblical criticism, archaeology and philological science to the "Christian Spectator," "Biblical Repository," "New Englander," and the "American Journal of Science." He was particularly fond of grammatical and philological studies, and attained a high reputation for thoroughness and accuracy in them. His work appears in several of the most important philological books published during the century, and among others in the revised edition of Webster's " Unabridged Dictionary" and Professor William C. Fowler's " English Language in its Elements and its Forms " (New York, 1850). For some years he was one of the publishing committee of the American oriental society. Professor Gibbs published a translation of Storr's "Historical Sense of the New Testament" (Boston, 1817); a translation of Gesenius's " Hebrew Lexicon of the Old Testament" (Andover, 1824; London, 1827); an abridged form of Gesenius's " Manual Hebrew and English Lexicon " (1828);" Philological Studies with English Illustrations " (New Haven, 1856); "A New Latin Analyst" (1859) ; and " Teutonie Etymology" (1860).--His son, Josiah Willard, scientist, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 11 February, 1839, was graduated at Yale in 1858, and subsequently pursued mathematical and other studies at that University, for which in 1863 he received the degree of Ph. D. For the three following years he was a tutor in Yale, and then spent several years in study at the universities of Paris, Berlin, and Heidelberg. In 1871 he became professor of mathematical physics in Yale, a chair which he has since held, also lecturing at the Johns Hopkins University in 1880. His work has been principally in the development of graphical and analytical methods in thermodynamics, and for his researches in this direction he was honored by the American academy of arts and sciences with their Rumford medal. He was elected a member of the National academy of sciences in 1879, and in 1886 was vice-president of the American association for the advancement of science, for the section of mathematics and astronomy, delivering an address on " Multiple Algebra." His published papers include memoirs on "Graphical Methods in the Thermodynamics of Fluids" (1873); "A Method of Geometrical Representation of the Thermodynamic Properties of Substances by Means of Surfaces" (1873) ; "Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances," Part I. (1876); Part II. (1878); and several" Notes on the Electro-magnetic Theory of Light" (1882-'3). He has also applied the methods of thermodynamics to chemical dissociation, and has developed a system of vector notation simpler than that of quaternions and more approximating to the German notation, notably that of Grassmann.
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