IMI Interdisciplinary Mathematics InstituteCollege of Arts and Sciences

Mathematicians of the Antebellum South Carolina College: Thomas S. Twiss, 1835-1846

  • Oct. 29, 2009


A mathematics chair has existed in the University of South Carolina from the opening of the institution (as the South Carolina College) in 1805 until the present day. Yet, little is to be found, in the published histories of the institution, of many of the mathematicians who occupied this chair. Thomas S. Twiss was given particularly short shrift in Maximilian LaBorde's History of the South Carolina College, written shortly before the Civil War, and subsequent historians of the college found little else to add. In this lecture, I plan to shed some light on the dim image that has been left us, to reveal Twiss as one of the more interesting characters of the antebellum period, and the inspiration, at least in part, for one of the iconic figures in American literature.

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