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William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker (1620-1684), Mathematician; first President of the Royal Society

Sitter in 4 portraits
President of the Royal Society from 1662 to 1677, Brouncker was the most senior courtier in the Society. His loyalty during the Commonwealth was rewarded by Charles II with his appointment as Chancellor to Queen Catherine. He also served as a Commissioner of the Navy, 1664-7, where he was assisted by Samuel Pepys. He presented papers on mathematics, the recoil of guns and the effects of heat on metals but his principal role in the Society was as an advocate at Court. He was unable to secure a permanent home for the Society or a grant from the King. Chiefly remembered for expressing the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumferences as a continued fraction.

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1567

William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker

possibly after Sir Peter Lely
oil on canvas, (circa 1674)
NPG 1567

D30335

Royal Society London

by Wenceslaus Hollar, after John Evelyn
etching, 1667
NPG D30335

D30333

William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker

published by John Scott, after Sir Peter Lely
stipple engraving, published 20 May 1806
NPG D30333