Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MINTO, Walter, mathematician, born in Cowdenham, Scotland, 6 December, 1753; died in Princeton, New Jersey, 21 October, 1796. After his graduation at the University of Edinburgh, he became tutor to the two sons of George Johnstone, a member of parliament, who was commissioner to this country in 1778, and went with them to Italy. In Pisa he resided in the family of Dr. Guiseppe Slop, the astronomer, and through him became familiar with the then new application of mathematics to the motions of the heavenly bodies. He subsequently gave up his pupils, owing to a disagreement with their father, and returned to Scotland, where he became a teacher of mathematics at Edinburgh. He came to the United States in 1786, and in 1787 became professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in Princeton, which post he held till his death. He received the degree of LL. D. from the University of Aberdeen, about 1787. Dr. Minto published "Demonstration of the Path of the New Planet"; "Researches into Some Parts of the Theory of Planets" (London, 1783); "An Account of the Life, Writings, and Inventions of Napier of Merchiston," with Lord Buchan (Edinburgh, 1787) ; and his "Inaugural Oration on the Progress and Importance of the Mathematical Sciences" (1788).
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