James Joseph Sylvester

James Joseph Sylvester (1814 - 1897) British mathematician, poet and author, best known for Sylvester’s sequence and for coining mathematical terms, some of which are still in use today (such as “totient” and “totativeMathworldPlanetmath”). Together with Arthur Cayley, he invented the theory of subject of invariant theory, which became one of the most actively studied branches of algebra during the nineteenth century.

Born in England of a Jewish family, Sylvester studied in England and Scotland, and taught in the United States. He also studied law.


  • 1 R. C. Archibald, “James Joseph Sylvester”, Studies and Essays in the History of Science and Learning Offered in Homage to George Sarton on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday. New York: H. Schuman (1947): 209 - 217
  • 2 L. S. Feuer, “Sylvester in Virginia” The Mathematical Intelligencer 9 (1987): 13 - 20
  • 3 K. H. Parshall, James Joseph Sylvester: Jewish Mathematician in a Victorian World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press (2006)
Title James Joseph Sylvester
Canonical name JamesJosephSylvester
Date of creation 2013-03-22 18:20:12
Last modified on 2013-03-22 18:20:12
Owner Mravinci (12996)
Last modified by Mravinci (12996)
Numerical id 6
Author Mravinci (12996)
Entry type Biography
Classification msc 01A55