John Venn

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John Venn

John Venn (Drypool, August 4, 1834 – Cambridge, April 4, 1923), was a British mathematician and logician a member of the Royal Society of London. He is especially known for his method of graphical representation of propositions (according to their quality and quantity) and syllogisms known as Venn diagrams. These allow a verification of the validity or invalidity of a syllogism. Later they were used to visually show the most elementary operations of set theory.

John_Venn’s Biography

John Venn was born in 1834 in Hull, Yorkshire. His mother, Martha Sykes, came from Swanland, near Hull, and died while John was still very young. His father was the Reverend Henry Venn, who at the time John was born was the rector of the parish of Drypool, near Hull. Henry Venn came from a distinguished family. His own father, John’s grandfather, the Reverend John Venn, had been rector of Clapham in South London. He was the leader of the Clapham Sect, a group of evangelical Christians who met in his church and who promoted the reform of the prison and the abolition of slavery and cruel sports.

John Venn’s father (Henry) also played a prominent role in the evangelical movement. The Society for Missions in Africa and the East was founded by the Evangelical clergy of the Church of England in 1799, and in 1812 it was renamed the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East. of the Missionary Church of Africa and the East). Henry Venn was secretary of the Society since 1841. He moved to Highgate, near London, in order to carry out his duties. There he held his position until his death.

John Venn was brought up strictly. He was expected to follow the family tradition as a Christian minister. After spending some time at Highgate School, he entered the College of Gonville and Caius, in Cambridge, in 1853. He graduated in 1857 and was soon elected assistant professor of the school. He was ordained deacon of Ely in 1858 and became reverend to the church in 1859. In 1862 he returned to Cambridge as a professor of moral sciences.

The area of ​​greatest interest to Venn was logic, and he published three texts on the subject. He wrote The Logic of Chance, which introduced the theory of frequency of probability, in 1866, Symbolic Logic (Symbolic Logic), which presented the diagrams of Venn, in 1881, and The Principles of Empirical Logic (The Principles of Empirical Logic), in 1889.

In 1883, Venn was elected a member of the Royal Society. In 1897, he wrote a history of his university life, called The Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, 1349-1897. He began a compilation of biographical notes of students of the University of Cambridge, work that continued his son John Archibald Venn (1883-1958), published as Alumni Cantabrigienses, in 10 volumes, between 1922 and 1953.

He died in 1923, at the age of 88, in Cambridge, and was buried in the nearby cemetery of Trumpington Church.

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