Education

Wilson received his AB from Harvard College in 1899 and his PhD in 1901, dissertation "The Decomposition of the General Collineation in Space into Three Skew Reflections", at Yale with Gibbs as his advisor. In 1900 he became instructor in mathematics at Yale, but took leave during the year 1902-1903 to study mathematics at Paris, chiefly at the Ecole Normale Superieure; thereafter returning to teach at Yale. He became assistant professor of mathematics at Yale in 1906. In 1907, he when to MIT where he became an associate professor of mathematics; full professor in 1911, then professor of mathematical physics, and head of the department of physics in 1917. [1] In 1918, at the start of World War I, Wilson taught a course on aeronautics and or aeronautical engineering for Army and Navy officers, after which, in 1922, he moved to Harvard’s school of public health, wherein he became professor of vital statistics, retiring from that position in 1945.

Mathematical economics | Physical chemistry based

In the 1930s, Wilson taught a physical chemistry, steam engine theory, thermodynamics based course or seminar on

“Schumpeter has suggested that it would be particularly well for me to give as I gave last time a general theory of equilibrium such as this is understood by physical chemists including the phase systems of Willard Gibbs. Most of our equilibrium theory in economics really has for its background the notions of equilibrium which arise in mechanics. It is pretty high-brow stuff. Mathematically or physically it isn’t any more high-brow than things which I long taught at Yale University and at the Institute of Technology. Although Pareto was certainly quite familiar with the types of equilibrium which arise in physical chemistry and are necessary in fact for the study of the steam engine he doesn’t use this line of thought in economics.”

This single paragraph, along with the amount of interaction discussed in the Harvard Pareto circle, along with the fact that in 1938 he told Paul Samuelson to use equation 133 of Willard Gibbs' 1876 700-equation thick

Vector analysis

Wilson’s first major accomplishment was the preparation, in 1901, of Willard Gibbs lecture notes on vector analysis, as presented in the 1902 textbook

References

1. Hunsaker, Jerome and Mac Lane, Saunders. (1973). “Edwin Bidwell Wilson (1879-1964)” (pdf), 38-pages. National Academy of Sciences.

2. (a) Gibbs, Josiah W. and Wilson, Edwin B. (1902).

(b) Vector Analysis (book) – Wikipedia.

3. Mooslechner, Peter, Schumerth, Helene, and Schurz, Martin. (2004).

4. (a) Wilson, Edwin. (1938). “Letter to H.H. Burbank”, Dec 20; in

(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1993). “The Goalkeeper’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick”, in:

(c) Weintraub, E. Roy. (1991).

5. Szpiro, George. (2011).

Further reading

● Wilson, Edwin B. (1912).

External links

● Edwin Bidwell Wilson – Wikipedia.

● Edwin Bidwell Wilson – Mathematics Genealogy Project.