John Keill 1671-1721
John KEILL 1671-1721
Born in Edinburgh, son of Robert Keill, Writer to the Signet. After graduating at the University of Edinburgh, he moved to Oxford where he became lecturer in experimental philosophy at Hart Hall. There, he became the first person to offer a course on Newtonian philosophy. He began publishing works himself with his Examination of Dr Burnet's theory of the earth in 1698, following this up with other books on science and natural philosophy. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1701 and left Oxford in 1709 (having failed to win a professorship) to be treasurer of the Palatines. In 1711 he returned to Oxford as Savilian Professor of Astronomy. His later years were somewhat overshadowed by a bitter dispute with Gottfried Leibnitz over the invention of calculus, but he remained one of the most influential and respected scientists of his generation.
Keill's library was sold by retail sale in London, along with the books of Richard Fuller, beginning 21 November 1727. The extent of his library is not known; in his brief will, he bequeathed his books and instruments to his son James.
- Will of John Keill, the National Archives PROB 11/581/597.
- Alston, R. C. Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
- Henry, John. "Keill, John (1671–1721), mathematician and natural philosopher." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.