THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS
Provisional Bibliography of
Peter Guthrie Tait
Compiled by
Chris Pritchard
PETER GUTHRIE TAIT (18311901): CENTENARY MEETING
The Royal Society of Edinburgh
July 2001
CONTENTS
In contrast to his illustrious compatriots, Maxwell and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), the life and scientific work of Peter Guthrie Tait has been the subject of relatively little research. This booklet has been prepared in the hope that it will stimulate interest among historians of science and provide a starting point for their enquiries.
Tait’s biographer, Knott, catalogues some 365 papers, articles, laboratory notes, reviews and obituaries, together with two volumes of collected papers. The books that Tait wrote, in whole or in part, are also listed (see below: Knott, 1911, 351365). This remains the most authoritative guide to the primary material of one of the nineteenth century’s most colourful scientists, though the biography that precedes it is a study in hagiography. The Royal Society Catalogue of Papers is another useful source.
Tait was certainly a man who courted controversy, differing publicly with many leading scientists, including Clausius, Tyndall and Gibbs (Daub, 1970, 1975; Cardwell, 1971; Cunningham, 1990; Bork, 1966; Crowe, 1967). Yet, as well as being Thomson’s collaborator on A Treatise on Natural Philosophy and the writer of a host of other university texts, he should be remembered for his steadfast promotion of quaternions, in pursuit of a notation for physics which was coordinate free (Bork, 1966; Stephenson, 1966; Crowe, 1967; Pritchard, 1998a & 1998b), his pioneering exploration of the topology of knots (Brown & Pritchard, 1993; Hoste et al, 1998) and, perhaps above all, his golf ball aerodynamics (McKirdy, 1990; Denley & Pritchard, 1993).
Although Tait’s correspondence has not been gathered together, the letters and postcards received from his lifelong friend, James Clerk Maxwell, held in the Maxwell Collection in Cambridge University Library, are published in Harman (1990, 1995), with footnotes carrying many of Tait’s tidings. Other sources include Knott (1911), the Stokes and Kelvin Collections, also in Cambridge University Library, and the Kelvin Collection at the University of Glasgow. The papers of William Rowan Hamilton, the inventor of quaternions, are held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Among them are numerous letters passing between Hamilton and Tait in the late 1850s.
I am indebted to Simon Schaffer for drawing my attention to the sources relevant to Tait’s debate with Todhunter on the subject of the Cambridge Tripos, to David Forfar for many helpful comments and to John Fauvel and June BarrowGreen for their encouragement. Numerous historians and librarians have helped to increase my knowledge of what is held where. May I express thanks to David Wilkins (Trinity College Dublin), George Wilkins (Exeter University), Adam Perkins (Cambridge University Library), Olive Geddes (National Library of Scotland), Peter Lewis (British Golf Museum, St Andrews), Stuart McKirdy (Edinburgh University) and David B Wilson (Iowa State University). I apologise in advance for careless slips and for details not supplied. By its very nature, cataloguing primary and secondary sources is a task without end. There is certainly much still to be done.
I shall be glad to receive any further information about Tait and his publications, which will be used to update the bibliography.
Anon (1990) ‘Peter Guthrie Tait’, British Golf Collector’s Society Quarterly Bulletin, June.
Campbell, N & Smellie, R M S (1983) The Royal Society of Edinburgh (17831983), Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1983.
Chrystal, G (1901) ‘Professor Tait’, Nature 64 (25 July 1901), 305307.
Fergusson, Lt. Col. A (1887) Chronicles of the Cumming Club, private publication.
Forfar, D & Pritchard, C (1999) ‘The remarkable story of Maxwell and Tait’, James Clerk Maxwell Commemorative Booklet, Fourth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Edinburgh: James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, not paginated. An extended version of this paper is found in Scottish Mathematical Council Journal 30 (2001), 6065.
Hamilton Dickson, J D (1902) Title unknown, Magazine of the Peterhouse Sexcentenary Club, Michaelmas Term. (Tells the story of Tait’s becoming Senior Wrangler: see Knott, p 9.)
Hamilton Dickson, J D (1912) ‘Peter Guthrie Tait’, Dictionary of National Biography, 2nd supp. III, 471474.
Harman, P M (Ed.) (1990) The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell Vol. I, 18461862, Cambridge University Press.
Harman, P M (Ed.) (1995) The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell Vol. II, 18461862, Cambridge University Press.
Knott, C G (1911) Life and Scientific Work of Peter Guthrie Tait, Cambridge University Press.
Macfarlane, A (1902) ‘Peter Guthrie Tait’, Physical Review 15, 56.
Macfarlane, A (1903) ‘Peter Guthrie Tait, his life and works’, Bibliotheca Mathematica, 3rd ser., 4, 185200.
Macfarlane, A (1919) Peter Guthrie Tait, Lectures on Ten British Physicists of the Nineteenth Century, Wiley, New York.
North, D N (1981) ‘Peter Guthrie Tait’, in Gillispie, C C (Ed.) Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Charles Scribners Sons, New York (1981, Vol. 13, 236237).
Pritchard, C (1999) ‘Aspects of the life and work of Peter Guthrie Tait’, James Clerk Maxwell Commemorative Booklet, Fourth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Edinburgh: James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, not paginated.
Tait, P G (1898) Scientific Papers of Peter Guthrie Tait Vol. I, Cambridge University Press.
Tait, P G (1900) Scientific Papers of Peter Guthrie Tait Vol. II, Cambridge University Press.
Thomson, W (Lord Kelvin) (1911) ‘Obituary notice of Professor Tait’, Mathematical and Physical Papers VI, Cambridge University Press.
Turner, A L (1933) History of the University of Edinburgh, 18331933, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.
Wilson, D B (1985) ‘The educational matrix: Physics education at earlyVictorian Cambridge, Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities’, in Harman, P M (Ed.) Wranglers and Physicists: Studies on Cambridge Physics in the NineteenthCentury, Manchester University Press, 1985.
Wilson, D B (1991) ‘P. G. Tait and Edinburgh Natural Philosophy, 18601901’, Annals of Science 48, 267287.
Tait, P G & Steele, W L (1856) A Treatise on Dynamics of a Particle, London: Macmillan.
Thomson, W & Tait, P G (1863) Sketch of Elementary Dynamics, Edinburgh: Maclachlan & Stewart.
Thomson, W & Tait, P G (1867) A Treatise on Natural Philosophy, Vol. I, Oxford: Clarendon Press; 2nd edition in two parts, Cambridge University Press, 1878, 1883. (A proposed second volume did not appear.)
Tait, P G (1867) An Elementary Treatise on Quaternions, Oxford: Clarendon Press; enlarged editions, Cambridge University Press, 1873, 1890.
Thomson, W & Tait, P G (1867) Elementary Dynamics, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Tait, P G (1868) Sketch of Thermodynamics, Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas; 2nd edition, Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1877.
Thomson, W & Tait, P G (1873) Elements of Natural Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon Press; 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1879.
Shairp, J C, Tait, P G & AdamsReilly, A (1873) Life and Letters of James David Forbes, London: Macmillan.
Kelland, P & Tait, P G (1873) Introduction to Quaternions, London: Macmillan.
Stewart, B & Tait, P G (1875) The Unseen Universe: or Physical Speculations on a Future State, London: Macmillan. [Originally penned anonymously.]
Stewart, B & Tait, P G (1878) Paradoxical Philosophy: A Sequel to the Unseen Universe, London.
Tait, P G (1876) Recent Advances in Physical Science, London: Macmillan.
Tait, P G (1884) Heat, London: Macmillan.
Tait, P G (1884) Light, London: Adam & Charles Black.
Tait, P G (1885) Properties of Matter, London: Adam & Charles Black.
Tait, P G (1895) Dynamics, London: Adam & Charles Black.
Tait, P G (1899) Newton’’s Laws of Motion, London: Adam & Charles Black.
Anon (1873) ‘Thomson & Tait’s Natural Philosophy’, Nature 7, 399400.
Tait, P G Address to the Graduates, Graduation Ceremony, Edinburgh University, 18th April 1888. There is a copy in Edinburgh University Library (Special Collections: SD 3847).
Tait, P G The Position and Prospects of Physical Science, Edinburgh University (Public) Inaugural Lecture, delivered on November 7, 1860. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1860. There are copies in Edinburgh University Library: SB .504/2/7 and SB .504/3/10.
Notes of Tait’s Lectures taken by his Students
Barrie, J M (188081) Notes on Tait’s Lectures, 188081, National Library of Scotland, MS 6654.
Easterbrook, P P (188586) Notes on Tait’s Lectures, 188586, Edinburgh University Library, Gen 1821.
Gray, J A (187172) Notes on Tait’s Lectures for 187172, 5 vols, Edinburgh University Library, Gen 14041408.
Haldane, E S (1876) Notes on [Tait’s] Lectures, 1876: location not clear (see Wilson, 1991, above, p 232, note 78).
Sloan, A D (188182) Notes on Tait’s Lectures, 188182, 2 vols., Edinburgh University Library, Dc5.9899.
Tait, P G (1866) ‘Sir William Rowan Hamilton’, North British Review 45, 3774; Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 6, 1880; Scientific Papers II, 440444.
Tait, P G (1868) ‘Notice of Sir David Brewster’, The Scotsman, 11 February 1868.
Tait, P G (1869) ‘Notice of Principal J. D. Forbes’, The Scotsman, 11 January 1869.
Tait, P G (1872) ‘Notice of Professor Macquorn Rankine’, Glasgow Herald, 28 December 1872.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘Notice of James Lindsay’, The Scotsman, 5 January 1877.
Tait, P G (1879) ‘Obituary notice of Clerk Maxwell’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Maxwell’s scientific work’, Nature 21 (5 February), 317321.
Tait, P G (1883) ‘Notice of J. B. Listing’: detail given in the section on the topology of knots.
Tait, P G (1883) ‘Biographical note on J.A.F. Plateau’, Nature 28 (27 September), 529530 [not signed].
Tait, P G (1883) ‘Professor Stokes’ works’, Nature 29 (13 December), 145146.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘Notice of G. R. Kirchhoff’: detail given above in the section on thermodynamics.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘Dr Balfour Stewart, FRS’, Nature 37 (29 December), 202203.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘Professor Fleeming Jenkin’s Papers, Literary and Scientific, etc’, Nature 37 (8 March), 433435.
Tait, P G (1889) ‘Obituary notice of Balfour Stewart’, Proc. Roy. Soc. 16; Scientific Papers II, 282284.
Tait, P G & Chrystal, G (1879) ‘Obituary notice of Professor Kelland’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10.
Bashforth, F (1890) The Bashforth Chronograph, Cambridge University Press.
Denley, C & Pritchard, C (1993) ‘The golf ball aerodynamics of Peter Guthrie Tait’, Mathematical Gazette 77, 298311.
Everard, H S C (1893) ‘A long drive’, Golf, 27 January, 313314.
Low, J L (1901) F G Tait: A Record, Being his Life, Letters and Golfing Diary, London: J Nisbet. This is the first ever biography of a golfer.
Lubbock, A (1893) ‘Mr Tait’s drive’, Golf, 17 February, 363364.
McKirdy, A S (1990) ‘Professor P.G. Tait and the physics of golf’, in Cochran, A J (ed), Science and Golf: Proceedings of the First World Scientific Congress of Golf, Cambridge: E & F N Spon, 213218.
"Q. E. D." (1893) ‘Mr Tait’s drive’, Golf, 10 February and 3 March, 348, 396.
Robins, B (1805) New Principles of Gunnery (edited by Hutton).
Tait, P G (1887) ‘The unwritten chapter on golf’, The Scotsman, 31 August; Nature 36 (22 September), 502503.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘Preliminary note on the duration of impact’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 15; Scientific Papers II, 221.
Tait, P G (1890) ‘On impact’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 36, 225252; Scientific Papers II, 222248.
Tait, P G (1890) ‘Some points in the physics of golf’, Nature 42 (28 August), 420423.
Tait, P G (1890) ‘The pace of a golfball’, Golf, February.
Tait, P G (1891) ‘Some points in the physics of golf, II’, Nature 44 (24 September), 497498.
Tait, P G (1892) ‘On impact, II’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 37, 381397; Scientific Papers II, 249279.
Tait, P G (1892) ‘Hammering and driving’, Golf, February 1892.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘Carry’, Golf, August.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘Carry and run’, Golf, 29 September.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘On the path of a rotating spherical projectile’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 37, 427440; Scientific Papers II, 356370.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘Some points in the physics of golf, III’, Nature 48, 202204.
Tait, P G (1894) ‘The initial pace of a golf ball’, Golf, July.
Tait, P G (1896) ‘Long driving’, Badminton Magazine, March; a longer first draft of this paper is in Knott, 1911, 329344.
Tait, P G (1896) ‘On the path of a rotating spherical projectile, II’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 39, 491506; Scientific Papers II, 371387.
Thomson, J J (1910) ‘The dynamics of a golf ball’, Nature 85 (22 December), 251257 (lecture given at the Royal Institution, 18 March 1910).
"Veteran" (1893) ‘Mr Tait’s drive’, Golf, 17 February, 364.
For more recent developments in the physics of golf, reference should be made, in the main, to papers in the Proceedings of congresses on the science of golf, held every four years at the University of St Andrews:
Cochran, A J (ed.) (1990), Science and Golf: Proceedings of the First World Scientific Congress of Golf, (held at St. Andrews), Cambridge: E & F N Spon.
Cochran, A J & Farrally, M R (eds.) (1994) Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf, Cambridge: E & F N Spon.
Farrally, M R & Cochran, A J (eds.) (1998) Science and Golf III: Proceedings of the 1998 World Scientific Congress of Golf, Cambridge: E & F N Spon.
These books are denoted WSCG1, WSCG2 and WSCG3 below.
Aoki, K et al (1998) ‘Flow characteristics of a golf ball: using visualization techniques’, WSCG3, 446456.
Chikaraishi, Y et al (1990) ‘A new method on measurement of trajectories of a golf ball’, WSCG1, 193198.
Chou, P C, Liang, D & Yang, J (1994) ‘Contact forces, coefficient of restitution, and spin rate of golf ball impact’, WSCG2, 296301.
Cochran, A J (1990) ‘Science, equipment development and standards’, WSCG1, 177186.
Davies, J M (1949) ‘The aerodynamics of golf balls’, Journal Applied Physics 20, 821828.
Erlichson, H (1983) ‘Maximum projectile range with drag and lift, with particular application to golf’, American Journal of Physics 51, 357362; reprinted in Armenti, A (ed.) (1992) The Physics of Sports, American Institute of Physics.
Gobush, W (1990) ‘Impact force measurements on golf balls’, WSCG1, 219224.
Lieberman, B B (1990) ‘Estimating lift and drag coefficients from golf ball trajectories’, WSCG1, 187192.
Scheie, C E (1990) ‘The golf club¾ ball collision ¾ 5,000 g’s’, WSCG1, 237240.
Smits, A J (1994) ‘A new aerodynamic model of a golf ball in flight’, WSCG2, 340347.
Tavares, G, Shannon, K & Melvin, T (1998) ‘Golf ball spin decay model based radar measurements’, WSCG3, 464472.
Adams, C (1994) The Knot Book: An Elementary Introduction to the Theory of Knots, New York: Freeman.
Archibald, T (1989) ‘Connectivity and smokerings : Green’s second identity in its first fifty years’, Math. Mag. 62 (4), 219232.
Crum Brown, A (1885?) ‘On a case of interlacing surfaces’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 13, 382386.
Epple, M (1998) ‘Topology, matter, and space. I. Topological notions in 19thcentury natural philosophy’, Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. 52 (4), 297392.
Hoste, J, Thistlethwaite, M & Weeks, J (1998) ‘The first 1,701,936 knots’, Mathematical Intelligencer 20, 3348.
Kirkman, T P (1884) ‘The enumeration, description and construction of knots of fewer than ten crossings’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 32, 281309.
Kirkman, T P (1885) ‘The 364 unifilar knots of ten crossings, enumerated and described’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 32, 483491.
Kirkman, T P (1885?) ‘On the twits of Listing and Tait’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 13, 363367.
Little, C N (1885) ‘On knots, with a census for order 10’, Trans. Connecticut Academy Sci. 18 (1885), 2743.
Little, C N (1888) ‘Nonalternate ± knots, of orders eight and nine’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 35, 663664.
Little, C N (1890) ‘Nonalternate knots of order eight and nine’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 35.
Little, C N (1890) ‘Alternate ± knots of order eleven’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 36, 253255.
Little, C N (1899) ‘Nonalternate ± knots’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 39, 771778.
Meyer, F (1886?) ‘Ueber algebraische Knoten’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 13, 931946.
Pritchard, C & Brown, R (1993) ‘The third man’s knotty problems’, Scottish Mathematical Council Journal 23, 6266.
Tait, P G (1867) ‘Translation of Helmholtz’s paper on Vortex Motion’ [Ueber Integrale der hydrodynamischen Gleichen, welche den Wirbelbewegungen entsprechen], Phil. Mag. [4], 34.
Tait, P G (1876) ‘Applications of the theorem that two closed plane curves intersect an even number of times’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 237246.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘Some elementary properties of closed plane curves’, Messenger of Mathematics, New Series, 29 (communicated at the 1876 Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science).
Tait, P G (1877) ‘Note on the measure of beknottedness’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 289298.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘On knots: with remarks by Listing’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 306317.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘On links’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 321332.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘Sevenfold knottiness’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 363366.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘On amphicheiral forms and their relations’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 391392.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘Preliminary note on a new method of investigating the properties of knots’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 403.
Tait, P G (1877) ‘On knots’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 28, 145190; Scientific Papers I, 273317.
Tait, P G (1879) ‘On the measurement of beknottedness’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 4849.
Tait, P G (1883) ‘Johann Benedict Listing’, Nature 27, 316; Scientific Papers II, 8184 Introductory addres to the Edinburgh Mathematical Society).
Tait, P G (1884) ‘Listing’s Topologie’, Phil. Mag. [5] 17, 3046; Scientific Papers II, 8598.
Tait, P G (1884) ‘On knots, Part II’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 32, 327342; Scientific Papers I, 318331.
Tait, P G (1885) ‘On knots, Part III’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 32, 493506; Scientific Papers I, 335347.
Thomson, W (1867) ‘On vortex motion’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 25, 217260.
Thomson, W (1875?) ‘Vortex statics’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 5973.
Van de Griend, P (1992) The History of Knot Theory, Århus University.
Tait wrote An Elementary Treatise on Quaternions (1867) and coauthored Introduction to Quaternions (1873): details are given above.
Ball, R S (1893) ‘The discussion of quaternions’, Nature 48 (24 August), 391.
Bork, A M (1966) ‘Vectors versus quaternions  the letters in Nature’, Amer. Journal Phys. 34, 202211.
Cayley, A (1894) ‘On coordinates versus quaternions’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 20, 271275,
Crowe, M J (1967) A History of Vector Analysis: The Evolution of the Idea of a Vectorial System, University of Notre Dame Press; also Dover, 1985.
Gibbs, J W (1891) ‘On the rôle of quaternions in the algebra of vectors’, Nature 43 (24 April), 511513.
Gibbs, J W (1891) ‘Quaternions and the Ausdehnungslehre’, Nature 44 (28 May), 7982.
Gibbs, J W (1893) ‘Quaternions and the algebra of vectors’, Nature 47 (16 March), 463463.
Gibbs, J W (1893) ‘Quaternions and vector analysis’, Nature 48 (17 August), 364367.
Graves, R P (1882) Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co.
Hankins, T L (1980) Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Baltimore.
Heaviside, O (1893) ‘Vectors versus quaternions’, Nature 47 (6 April), 533534.
Heaviside, O (1894) ‘Quaternionic innovations’, Nature 49 (11 January), 246.
Knott, C G (1893) ‘The quaternion and its depreciators’, Proc. Edin. Math. Soc. 11 (read 13 January), 6280.
Knott, C G (1893) ‘Recent innovations in vector theory’ (Abstract), Nature 47 (20 April), 590593.
Knott, C G (1893) ‘Vectors and quaternions’, Nature 48 (15 June), 148149.
Knott, C G (1893) ‘Quaternions and vectors’, Nature 48 (28 September), 516517.
Tait’s quaternionic formula for the number of
interlinkings of two endless curves in space.
Lodge, A (1893) ‘Vectors and quaternions’, Nature 48 (29 June), 198199.
Macfarlane, A (1893) ‘Vectors versus quaternions’, Nature 48 (25 May), 7576.
Macfarlane, A (1894) ‘Vectors and quaternions’, Nature 48 (5 October), 540541.
Maxwell, J C (1873) ‘Quaternions’, Nature 9 (25 December), 137138.
Maxwell, J C (1873) A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
McAulay, A (1892) ‘Quaternions as a practical instrument of physical research’, Phil. Mag. [5], 477495.
McAulay, A (1892) ‘Quaternions’, Nature 47 (15 December).
McAulay, A (1893) Utility of Quaternions in Physics, London.
O’Donnell, S O (1983) William Rowan Hamilton: Portrait of a Prodigy, Dublin: Boole Press.
Peddie, W (1893) ‘On the fundamental principles of quaternions and other vector analyses’, Proc. Edin. Math. Soc. 11 (read 10 February), 8492.
Pritchard, C (1998a) ‘Tendril of the hop and tendril of the vine: Peter Guthrie Tait and the promotion of quaternions. Part I’, Mathematical Gazette 82, 2636.
Pritchard, C (1998b) ‘Flaming swords and hermaphrodite monsters: Peter Guthrie Tait and the promotion of quaternions. Part 1I’, Mathematical Gazette 82, 235241.
Stephenson, R J (1966) ‘Development of vector analysis from quaternions’, Amer. Journal Phys. 34, 194201.
Tait, P G (1859) ‘Quaternion investigations connected with Fresnel’s wavesurface’, Quart. Journ. Pure & Applied Math. 3, 190210; Scientific Papers I, 119.
Tait, P G (1863) ‘Note on a quaternion transformation’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 5, 115119; Scientific Papers I, 4346.
Tait, P G (1868) . ‘On the rotation of a rigid body about a fixed point’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 6, 430434; Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 25, 261303; Scientific Papers I, 86127.
Tait, P G (1870) ‘On some quaternion integrals’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 7, 318320, 784788; Scientific Papers I, 159163.
Tait, P G (1870) ‘On Green’s and other allied theorems’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 26, 6984; Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 7 (1872), 168169; Scientific Papers I, 136150.
Tait, P G (1886) ‘Quaternions’ Encyclopædia Britannica (Ninth Edition)
Tait, P G (1890) ‘On the importance of quaternions in physics’, Phil. Mag. [5] 29, 8497; Scientific Papers II, 297308.
Tait, P G (1891) ‘The rôle of quaternions in the algebra of vectors’, Nature 43 (30 April), 608.
Tait P G (1891) ‘Quaternions and the Ausdehnungslehre’, Nature 44 (4 June), 105106.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘Vector analysis’, Nature 47, 225226.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘[Review of ] Utility of Quaternions in Physics by A. McAaulay’, Physical Review 1, 387390.
Tait, P G (1894) ‘On the intrinsic nature of the quaternion method’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 20, 276284; Scientific Papers II, 392398.
Tait, P G (1900) ‘On the claim recently made for Gauss to the invention (not the discovery) of quaternions’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 23, 1723.
Tait, P G (1902) ‘Quaternion notes’, posthumously published in Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 24.
Wheeler, I P (1962) Josiah Willard Gibbs: The History of a Great Mind, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Tait wrote Sketch of Thermodynamics (1868) and Heat (1884): details are given above.
Cardwell, D S L (1971) From Watt to Clausius: The Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY; reprinted, Iowa Sate University Press, 1989.
Cardwell, D S L (1989) James Joule: A Biography, Manchester University Press.
Daub, E E (1970) ‘Entropy and dissipation’, Hist. Stud. Phys. Sci. 2, 321354.
Daub, E E (1971) ‘The hidden origins of the TaitTyndall controversy: The ThomsonTyndall conflict’, Proc. XIV Int. Congr. Hist. Sci. vol. 2, 241244 (published 1975).
Clausius, R (1872) ‘A contribution to the history of the mechanical theory of heat’, Phil. Mag. [4] 43, 106115: translation of ‘Zur Geschichte der mechanischen Wärmetheorie’, Annalen der Physik 145, 132146.
Clausius, R (1872) ‘On the objections raised by Mr. Tait against my treatment of the mechanical theory of heat’, Phil. Mag. [4] 43, 443446: translation of ‘Ueber die von Hrn. Tait erhobenen Einwände gegen seine Behandlung der mechanischen Wärmetheorie’, Annalen der Physik 146, 303313.
Clausius, R (1877) ‘Ueber eine von Hrn. Tait in der mechanischen Wärmetheorie angewandte Schlussweise, Annalen der Physik 2, 130133.
Clausius, R (1879) ‘Tendenz des Buches Sketch of Thermodynamics von Tait’, appendix to the second volume of Die mechanische Wärmetheorie, Braunschweig, 1879 (pp 324330).
Deakin, M A B (1999) ‘Thermodynamic proofs and their history’, Mathematical Gazette 83, 9294.
Eve, A S & Creasey, C H (1945) Life and Work of John Tyndall, London: Macmillan (especially pp 97104, 161162, 175178).
Garber, E W (1998) The Language of Physics: The Calculus and the Development of Theoretical Physics in Europe, 17501914, Basel: Birkhäuser (especially pp 240243).
Lockyer, N (1873) as editor of Nature ‘Tait and Tyndall’, Nature 8 (25 September), 431.
Maxwell, J C (1878) ‘Tait’s Thermodynamics’, Nature 17 (31 January), 257259.
Maxwell, J C (1878) ‘Tait’s Thermodynamics, II’, Nature 17 (7 February), 278280.
Moyer, D F (1977) ‘Energy, dynamics, hidden machinery: Rankine, Thomson and Tait, Maxwell’, Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci. 8, 251269.
Tait, P G (1863) ‘Reply to Prof. Tyndall’s remarks on a paper on "Energy" in Good Words’, Phil. Mag. [4], 25.
Tait, P G (1863) ‘On the conservation of energy’, Phil. Mag. [4] 26, 144145.
Tait, P G (1863) ‘On the conservation of energy’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 5, 121126.
Tait, P G (1864) ‘On the history of thermodynamics’, Phil. Mag. [4] 28, 288292.
Tait, P G (1864) ‘The dynamical theory of heat’, North British Review 40, 2137.
Tait, P G (1864) ‘Energy’, North British Review 40, 177193.
Tait, P G (1868) ‘On the dissipation of energy’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 6, 309311.
Tait, P G (1868) Historical Sketch of the Dynamical Theory of Heat, Edinburgh, Constable, 1868: an essay included in Tait’s book Sketch of Thermodynamics (see above).
Tait, P G (1868) ‘Physical proof that the geometric mean of any number of positive quantities is less than the arithmetic mean’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 6, 309; Scientific Papers I, 83.
Tait, P G (1869) ‘Geological Time’, North British Review 50 , 406439.
Tait, P G (1872) ‘Reply to Professor Clausius’, Phil. Mag. [4] 42, 338.
Tait, P G (1872) ‘On the history of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, in reply to Professor Clausius’, Phil. Mag. [4], 43, 516518.
Tait, P G (1872) ‘Reply to Professor Clausius’, Phil. Mag. [4] 44, 240; Annalen der Physik und Chemie 145, 496.
Tait, P G (1873) ‘Tyndall and Forbes’, Nature 8 (11 September), 381382.
Tait, P G (1878) ‘Review of Freeman’s Fourier’s Theory of Heat’, Nature 18 (20 June), 192 [not signed].
Tait, P G (1879) ‘On the dissipation of energy’, Phil. Mag. [5] 7, 344346.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘Notice of G. R. Kirchhoff’, Nature 36; Scientific Papers II, 436439.
Thomson, W (1879) ‘Note by Sir W. Thomson on the preceding letter’, Phil. Mag. [5] 7, 346348.
Thomson, W & Tait, P G (1863) ‘Energy’, Good Words, 1862, 601607.
Tyndall, J (1873) ‘Tyndall and Tait’ (with editorial note), Nature 8 (18 September), 399.
BarrowGreen, J E (2001: publication imminent) ‘Burnside’s applied mathematics’, in The collected works of William Burnside, Oxford University Press.
Tait, P G (1881) ‘Note on a singular problem in kinetics’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 11, 173175; Scientific Papers I, 425426.Tait, P G (1884) ‘Note on a theorem of Clerk Maxwell’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 13, 2123.
Tait, P G (1886) ‘On the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 33, 6595; Phil. Mag. [5] 21, 343348; Scientific Papers II, 124152.
Tait, P G (1886) ‘On the partition of energy among groups of colliding spheres’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 13, 537539.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘On the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases, II’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 33, 251277; Scientific Papers II, 153178.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘The assumptions required for the proof of Avogadro’s Law’, Phil. Mag. [5] 23, 433434.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘On the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases, III’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 35, 10291041; Scientific Papers II, 179191.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘Reply to Prof. Boltzmann’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 15, 140148.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘On the mean free path, and the average number of collisions per particle per second in a group of equal spheres’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 15, 225226.
Tait, P G (1889/1891) ‘On the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases, IV’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 36, 257272.
Tait, P G (1892) ‘On the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases, V’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin.; Scientific Papers II, 209211.
Tait, P G (1893) ‘Watson’s Kinetic Theory of Gases’, Nature 49 (23 November), 7374.
Tait, P G (1896) ‘Note on ClerkMaxwell’s law of distribution of velocity in a group of equal colliding spheres’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 21, 124128; Scientific Papers II, 427431.
Recreational Mathematics and Graph Theory
Biggs, N L (1980) ‘T. P. Kirkman, Mathematician’, Bull. London Math. Soc. 13, 97120.
Biggs, N L, Lloyds, E K & Wilson, R J (1976, 1999) Graph Theory 17361936, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Cayley, A (1879) ‘On the colouring of maps’, Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc. New series 1, 259261.
Coxeter, H S M (1961) Title unknown, Journal of Recreational Mathematics 2, 312; Leonardo 4, 273277.
Descartes, B (1948) ‘Network colourings’, Mathematical Gazette 32, 6769.
Fiorini, S & Wilson, R J (1977) Edgecolourings of Graphs, Research Notes in Mathematics 16, London: Pitman.
Grünbaum, B (1975) ‘Polytopal graphs’, in Fullerton, D R Sudies in Graph Theory, Part II, Cornell University.
Guthrie, F (1880) ‘Note on the colouring of maps’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 727728.
Heawood, P J (1890) ‘Mapcolouring theorem’, Quarterly Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics 24, 332338.
Kempe, A B (1879) ‘On the geographical problem of the four colours’, American Journal of Mathematics 2, 193200.
Richards, I M (1992) ‘The Josephus Problem’, Mathematical Spectrum 24, 97104.
Robinson, W J (1960) ‘The Josephus Problem’, Mathematical Gazette 44, 4752.
Rouse Ball, W W (1914) Mathematical Recreations and Essays, Macmillan, London.
Rouse Ball, W W and Coxeter, H S M (1974) Mathematical Recreations and Essays, 12th Ed., University of Toronto Press.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘On the colouring of maps’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 501503; Phil. Mag. [5], 17, 41.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Note on the theory of the "15 puzzle"’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 664665.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Further remarks on the colouring of maps’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 728729.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Remarks on the previous communication [by Guthrie]’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 729.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Note on a theorem in the geometry of position’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 29, 657660; Scientific Papers I, 408411.
Tait, P G (1898) ‘On the generalization of the Josephus Problem’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 22, 165168.
Atmospheric, Meteorological and Astronomical Phenomena
Tait, P G (1869) ‘On comets’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 6, 553555; British Association Reports, 39 (Sect.), 21.
Tait, P G (1872) ‘Scintillation’, Nature 6 (4 July), 181 [signed G. H.].
Tait, P G (1872) ‘Comets tails’, Nature 7 (12 December), 105 [signed G. H.].
Tait, P G (1874) ‘Double rainbow’, Nature 10 (1 October), 437.
Tait, P G (1875) ‘Cosmical astronomy’ (series of lectures), Good Words.
Tait, P G (1876) ‘Note on the origin of thunderstorms’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 136138.
Tait, P G (1876) ‘Notice of some recent atmospheric phenomena’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 9, 425426.
Tait, P G (1879) ‘On comets’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 10, 367370.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Thunderstorms’: in 4 parts, Nature 22 (12 August  9 September), 339341, 364366, 408410, 436438; Electrician 13 (1884), 114117, 128131; reprinted in Knott, 1911, 296320.
Tait, P G (1881) ‘On mirage’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 11, 354361 (first part only): Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 30, 551578; Scientific Papers I, 427453.
Tait, P G (1883) ‘State of the atmosphere which produces the forms of mirage observed by Vince and by Scoresby’, Nature 28 (24 May), 8488; reprinted in Knott, 1911, 321328.
Tait, P G (1884) ‘On various suggestions as to the source of atmospheric electricity’, Journal of the Scottish Meteorological Society 8; Nature 29 (27 March), 517; Scientific Papers II, 107109.
Tait, P G (1887) ‘On glories’ Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 14, 358359; Scientific Papers II, 219220.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘On Mr Ormond’s observations of fog bows’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 15, 129130.
Education, including the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos
BarrowGreen, J E (2001: publication imminent) ‘'The advantage of proceeding from an author of some scientific reputation': Isaac Todhunter and his mathematics textbooks’, in Boydell and Brewer, Teaching and learning in nineteenthcentury Cambridge.
Forfar, D O (1996) ‘What became of the Senior Wranglers?’, Mathematical Spectrum 29, 1.
Forsyth, A R (1935) ‘Old Tripos days at Cambridge’, Mathematical Gazette 19, 162179.
Tait, P G (1866) ‘On the value of the Edinburgh degree of M. A.’ (address to the Graduates in Arts, 24 April 1866), Edinburgh: Maclachlan and Stewart.
Tait P G (1871) ‘Presidential Address. Section A’, Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 34 (Tait’s name is not attached).
Tait, P G (1871) ‘Artificial selection’, Macmillan’s Magazine 25, 416421.
Tait, P G (1874) ‘Cram’, Nature 9 (30 April), 501502.
Tait, P G (1874) ‘Todhunter on experimental illustrations’, Nature 9 (26 February), 323.
Tait, P G (1878) ‘Review of the Scottish Universities Commission Report’, Nature 17 (4 April), 441443 [not signed].
Tait, P G (1878) ‘Review of Bain’s Education’, Nature 19 (20 March), 457.
Todhunter, I (1872) ‘Audi aliam partem’, Macmillan’s Magazine 26, 6069.
Todhunter, I (1873) The Conflict of Studies, London: Macmillan.
Tait, P G (1888) ‘Engineers v. professors and college men’, Nature 39 (29 November), 101102, 223.
Warwick, A (expected late 2001) Masters of Theory: A Pedagogical History of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, 17601930, University of Chicago Press.
Disputes (see also: sections on Quaternions and Thermodynamics)
Anon (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer versus Sir I. Newton’, Nature 9, 421.
Anon (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer and à priori truths’, Nature 9, 462.
Anon (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer and à priori axioms’, Nature 9, 500.
Anon (1874) ‘Professor Tait on "Cram"’, Nature 9, 501502.
Bottomley, J (1879) ‘Leibnitz’s mathematics’, Nature 19, 267.
Cunningham, F F (1990) James David Forbes, Pioneer Scottish Glaciologist, Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press (especially pp 275288).
Frankland, F W (1874) ‘Physical axioms’, Nature 9, 484.
Hayward, R B (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer and à priori axioms’, Nature 9, 499500.
Ingleby, C M (1871) ‘Creators of science’, Nature 5, 62.
Ingleby, C M (1871) ‘Leibnitz and the calculus’, Nature 5, 122.
Ingleby, C M (1879) ‘Leibnitz’s mathematics’, Nature 19, 267.
Ingleby, C M (1879) ‘Leibnitz and the Royal Society’, Nature 19, 364.
Lockyer, T M & Lockyer W L (1928) Life and Work of Sir Norman Lockyer, Macmillan.
Meadows, A J (1972) Science and Controversy: a Biography of Sir Norman Lockyer, London and MIT Press (especially pp 3437).
Menteath, P W S (1871) ‘Prof. Tait on geological time’, Nature 5, 161162.
Muir, T (1879) ‘Leibnitz’s mathematics’, Nature 19, 482483.
Nelson, A B (1879) ‘Leibnitz’s mathematics’, Nature 19, 196.
The Scotsman newspaper, 24 April 1874, writer unknown, but subject is Tait as controversialist.
"Senior Wrangler" (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer and à priori axioms’, Nature 9, 500.
Spencer, H (1874) ‘Prof. Tait and Mr. Spencer’, Nature 9, 420421.
Spencer, H (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer and à priori truths’, Nature 9, 461462, 462.
Spencer, H (1880) ‘Mr. Spencer and Prof. Tait’, Nature 23, 100102.
Spencer, H (1880) ‘Mr. Spencer and Prof. Tait’, Nature 23, 144.
Tait, P G (1871) ‘Time and spurious metaphysics’, Nature 5, 81.
Tait, P G (1874) ‘Herbert Spencer versus Thomson and Tait’, Nature 9, 402403.
Tait, P G (1879) ‘Leibnitz’s mathematics’, Nature 19, 288.
Tait, P G (1879) ‘On the Origin of the Laws of Nature by Sir Edmund Beckett’, Nature 20, 264265.
Tait, P G (1880) ‘Prof. Tait and Mr. H. Spencer’, Nature 23, 123.
Clifford, W K (1879) Lectures and Essays, 2 vols., London (for a critique of The Unseen Universe).
Heimann, P M (1972) ‘The Unseen Universe: physics and the philosophy of nature in Victorian Britain’, British Journal Hist. Sci. 6, 7379.
Pluckette, C C (1953) ‘The curve of pursuit’, Mathematical Gazette 37, 256260.
Pritchard, C (1996) ‘Division of stakes in golf’, Matematical Gazette 80, 587589.
"R A S" (1923) ‘C. G. Knott, 18561922’, Proc. Roy. Soc. 102, xxviixxviii.
Reyes Rivas, R C (1990) ‘Quine and Tait: on mathematical existence’ (published in San José, in Spanish), in Mathematics in Costa Rica 1, 470480.
Tait, P G (1865) ‘On the law of frequency of error’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 24, 139145.
Tait, P G (1867) ‘Note on formulae representing the fecundity and fertility of women’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. 24, 481490; extended version in Duncan’s Fecundity and Fertility, Adam & Charles Black, 1871.
Tait, P G (1873) ‘On a question of arrangements and probabilities’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 8, 3744; Scientific Papers I, 199205.
______________________
Manuscripts
HamiltonTait correspondence at Trinity College Dublin
In recent weeks, David Wilkins has explored the collection of Hamilton manuscripts housed at Trinity College, Dublin. I am most grateful to him for supplying the following summary of his findings thus far.
Most if not all of the material at Trinity College, Dublin that relates to the correspondence between William Rowan Hamilton and Peter Guthrie Tait seems to be located in TCD MSS 1492, 1493, 2172 and 2173. There are however other manuscript collections at Trinity College, Dublin containing correspondence of William Rowan Hamilton and it is possible that they might contain other items related to Tait.
TCD MS 1493 is entitled ‘Correspondence of Sir William Rowan Hamilton’. It contains over 1400 letters. Of these, 90 are letters from Tait to Hamilton, dating from the period 185865. There is a typescript catalogue of TCD MS 1493 in the Manuscripts Department of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. The 1493 catalogue also lists copies of several letters from Tait to Hamilton dating from 1859.
TCD MS 2172 contains the originals of the letters from Hamilton to Tait in the years 18589, supplemented by a small number of short letters from later years. It concludes with a letter from George Salmon to Tait, written to thank Tait for writing his obituary of Hamilton in the North British Review in 1866.
TCD MS 1492 is entitled ‘Mathematical Papers of Sir William Rowan Hamilton’. This is substantial, around 250 notebooks of various sizes, and quantities of loose papers. There is a typescript catalogue of TCD MS 1492 in the Manuscripts Department of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, based on the catalogue prepared by J L Synge, and supplemented with comments by Kenneth O May. Various notebooks contain fair copies or drafts of letters from Hamilton to Tait, and a few copies of letters from Tait to Hamilton, with commentaries on and analyses and abstracts of portions of this correspondence. The most relevant of the notebooks seem to be the following:
TCD MS 1492/141 1858 (Hamilton’s A. 1858)
TCD MS 1492/146 1858 (Hamilton’s L. 1858)
TCD MS 1492/147 1858 (Hamilton’s T. 1858)
These folia contain the fair copies made of the early part of the correspondence at least. TCD MS 1492/146 also contains fair copies of a series of letters from Hamilton to Tait in 1862.
TCD MS 2173 contains, inter alia, drafts of letters from Tait to Hamilton dating from 18589. MS 2173a contains some of the envelopes which had contained letters from Hamilton to Tait: many of these envelopes carry annotations by Hamilton. MS 2173b contains eight miscellaneous items from Tait’s correspondence. One of these is a letter from Hamilton to Tait (numbered zero), which has on its reverse a copy of the letter from Dr. Thomas Andrews (Vice President of Queen’s College, Belfast) introducing Tait to Hamilton. There are also copies of a letter from Hamilton to Dr. Andrews about Tait, a letter from Thomas Romney Robinson (astronomer at Armagh observatory) to Hamilton concerning Tait, and a letter from Tait to Norman Macleod Ferrers. MS2173b also includes a business letter addressed to Tait from the firm of Troughton and Simms, London.
University of Aberdeen
MS 980i (185657) consists of three letters (and a descriptive list) by Maxwell to Tait, then at Queen’s College, Belfast. Tait’s son, John Guthrie Tait, presented the letters to the University Library in 1932 by. A covering letter from the son (MS 0980/5) gives information regarding those mentioned in the correspondence.
Kelvin Collection, University of Glasgow
The Kelvin Collection is one of the Special Collections of the Library of University of Glasgow. There are 127 letters pertaining to Tait. Where Tait is listed neither as author nor recipient he is a subject of the letter. Note that T and T' is my shortening of Thomson and Tait, whilst T and T' is their book, Treatise on Natural Philosophy.
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
Gen MS 1476/A/8974 
6 Dec 1880 
Tait 
Allen Thomson 
Request for biographical note of Sharpey 
Gen MS 1476/A/8975 
11 Dec 1880 
Tait 
Allen Thomson 
Biographical note of Sharpey 
MS Kelvin D72 
27 Nov 1882 
Mrs F Thomson 
G H Darwin 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin D8 
8 Jan 1879 
William Thomson 
G H Darwin 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin D87 
7 Dec 1884 
William Thomson 
G H Darwin 
Cavendish Chair 
MS Kelvin D88 
12 Dec 1884 
Mrs F Thomson 
G H Darwin 
Believes Tait should get Cavendish Chair 
MS Kelvin G8 
9 Jan 1877 
Glaisher 
William Thomson 
Paper by Cerruti 
MS Kelvin J170 
26 Jan 1863 
Joule 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin J171 
5 Mar 1863 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Dispute with Tyndall (?) 
MS Kelvin J172 
21 Jul 1863 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Has written to Tait about friction of water in tubes 
MS Kelvin J173 
25 Jul 1863 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Articles by T and T' 
MS Kelvin J183 
13 Apr 1866 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Failure to see T and T' 
MS Kelvin J192 
28 Nov 1867 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Need for replication of Joule’s experiments 
MS Kelvin J200 
21 Feb 1869 
Joule 
William Thomson 
Has written to Tait 
MS Kelvin LB3 
2 Jul 1890 
J D Cormack 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin LB5 
15 Nov 1898 
William Thomson 
Tait 
Request to read paper at Royal Society of Edinburgh 
MS Kelvin M21 
20 Feb 1868 
Maxwell 
William Thomson 
Hopes Tait will replicate Joule’s experiments 
MS Kelvin M32 
Undated (1871?) 
Maxwell 
William Thomson 
History of kinetic theory of gases 
MS Kelvin T1 
1 Jan 1859 
Tait 
De Morgan 
Numerical integration 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T10 
13 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T100 
23 Oct 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Oxford pamphlet 
MS Kelvin T101 
26 Oct 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Problems with proofs 
MS Kelvin T102 
29 Mar 1869 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Biography of Forbes 
MS Kelvin T103 
27 Mar 1880 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Murray’s antiDarwin paper 
MS Kelvin T11 
17 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Arrangements for visit 
MS Kelvin T119 
13 Aug 1863 
James Thomson 
William Thomson 
Vortex generator installed near Edin. 
MS Kelvin T12 
19 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Quaternions applied to potential 
MS Kelvin T129 
7 Jan 1873 
Tait 
William Thomson 
J Thomson as scientist 
MS Kelvin T13 
25 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Working on ‘Light’ and ‘Sound’ 
MS Kelvin T14 
27 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Experiments on stretching wires 
MS Kelvin T15 
14 Apr 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Experiments with light and gold leaf 
MS Kelvin T16 
18 Apr 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Hopes Thomson has received Calton Hill rock specimens 
MS Kelvin T17 
24 Apr 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Declines trip to Iceland: experiments on rotation of fluids 
MS Kelvin T18 
28 Apr 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Quaternion equations 
MS Kelvin T19 
29 Apr 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Margaret Tait’s visit to Belfast 
MS Kelvin T2 
10 Dec 1861 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T20 
11 Jun 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Andrews’ experiments on gases 
MS Kelvin T203/3 
JanApr 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Charts marking tidal curves 
MS Kelvin T21 
5 Jul 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T' 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T22 
19 Aug 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T' and planned vacation together 
MS Kelvin T23 
23 Aug 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Appearance of comet 
MS Kelvin T24 
2 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. Gravenstein to be assistant. Complains about White. 
MS Kelvin T25 
3 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Thomson’s contributions to T and T'. Case of plagiarism. Reference. to golf 
MS Kelvin T26 
7 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. Gravenstein accepts post. Mentions golf. 
MS Kelvin T27 
11 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Chapters of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T28 
14 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Material for T and T' 
MS Kelvin T29 
15 Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Woodcuts for T and T' 
MS Kelvin T3 
13 Dec 1861 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Correspondence with Macmillan on T and T', Green’s Theorem 
MS Kelvin T30 
‘Fast Day’, Oct 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Contents of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T31 
2 Dec 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T32 
26 Dec 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Print run of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T33 
30 Dec 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Mentions Fizeau on Newton. T and T' 
MS Kelvin T34 
13 Feb 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Refers to Gravenstein as Headstone 
MS Kelvin T35 
2 Mar 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Intends to counterattack Tyndall 
MS Kelvin T36 
16 Mar 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Counterattack on Tyndall 
MS Kelvin T37 
17 Mar 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Counterattack on Tyndall 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T38 
23 Mar 1863 
Brewster 
Tait 

MS Kelvin T39 
25 Mar 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Quaternions 
MS Kelvin T4 
11 Feb 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Research with Wanklyn & Lindsay on electrical effects 
MS Kelvin T40 
27 May 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T41 
3 Jul 1863 
Tait (from Belfast) 
William Thomson 
Tyndall’s reply in Phil Mag 
MS Kelvin T42 
28 Jul 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Sketch of Elementary Dynamics 
MS Kelvin T43 
17 Sep 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Shortened version of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T44 
13 Oct 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Astronomy in Scotland 
MS Kelvin T45 
17 Oct 1863 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Experiments with Kelland 
MS Kelvin T46 
7 Nov 1864 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Has proposed Helmholtz as member of RSE 
MS Kelvin T47 
13 Feb 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Issues relating to T and T' 
MS Kelvin T48 
16 Feb 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Issues relating to T and T' 
MS Kelvin T49 
20 Feb 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T5 
13 Feb 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Division of labour on T and T' 
MS Kelvin T50 
23 Feb 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Terminology. Elliptic transformations. 
MS Kelvin T51 
27 Feb 1865 
Balfour Stewart 
Tait 
Radiant heat 
MS Kelvin T52 
10 Mar 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Proofs of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T53 
13 Mar 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Brachistochrone 
MS Kelvin T55 
31 Mar 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Experiments with Balfour Stewart. Mentions Tyndall 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T56 
5 Apr 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Brachistochrone. Possible reconciliation with Tyndall. 
MS Kelvin T57 
10 Apr 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Brachistochrone 
MS Kelvin T58 
10 May 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Mentions book with Steele 
MS Kelvin T59 
19 May 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Brachistochrone 
MS Kelvin T6 
25 Feb 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T60 
19 May 1865 
Andrew Macmillan 
Tait 
Size and price of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T61 
31 Dec 1865 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T62 
10 Jan 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T63 
16 Jan 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Reference to Lamé. Progress of T and T'. 
MS Kelvin T64 
17 Jan 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T' 
MS Kelvin T65 
20 Jan 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T66 
4 Feb 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Mentions Liouville, Stokes and Lamé 
MS Kelvin T67 
13 Mar 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T68 
25 Mar 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Comments on T and T'. Asks Thomson to be godfather.. 
MS Kelvin T69 
30 Mar 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Tyndall. T and T'. Current experiments 
MS Kelvin T7 
5 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Tyndall. Current experiments 
MS Kelvin T70 
12 Apr 1866 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T71 
6 Jan 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
MS Kelvin T72 
10 Jan 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T73 
14 Jan 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
T and T' 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T74 
11 Feb 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Vortex atoms 
MS Kelvin T75 
4 Mar 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T76 
9 Apr 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T77 
12 Apr 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T78 
17 Apr 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Tait’s galvanometer 
MS Kelvin T79 
22 Apr 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Engagements 
MS Kelvin T8 
6 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Evaporation experiments 
MS Kelvin T80 
2 May 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. Tyndall. Ink vortices 
MS Kelvin T81 
18 May 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. Helmholtz’s article. Atlantic cable. 
MS Kelvin T82 
23 May 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. 
MS Kelvin T83 
15 Jun 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Details of T and T'. Experiments with galvanometer 
MS Kelvin T84 
4 Jul 1867 
J W Phelps 
Tait 

MS Kelvin T85 
18 Nov 1867 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Paper of Maxwell 
MS Kelvin T86 
7 Mar 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Mayer 
MS Kelvin T87 
11 Jun 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
St Andrews (golf?) 
MS Kelvin T88 
June (? Year) 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Gifts of books 
MS Kelvin T89 
2 Jul 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Criticism of Prof. Henry Calderwood 
MS Kelvin T9 
12 Mar 1862 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Progress of T and T'. Electrical experiments 
MS Kelvin T90 
5 Jul 1868 
William Thomson 
Tait 
Vortices 
MS Kelvin T91 
9 Jul 1868 
William Thomson 
Tait 
Vortex motion 
Call Code 
Date 
Author 
Recipient 
Subject 
MS Kelvin T92 
10 Aug 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T93 
22 Aug 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Wants to look at Thomson’s vortices work 
MS Kelvin T94 
26 Aug 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Thermodynamics. Criticism of Helmholtz. 
MS Kelvin T95 
29 Aug 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Thomson’s vortices work 
MS Kelvin T96 
6 Sep 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Vortex theory 
MS Kelvin T97 
21 Sep 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 

MS Kelvin T98 
2 Oct 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Correction of Tait’s proofs 
MS Kelvin T99 
13 Oct 1868 
Tait 
William Thomson 
Temperatures, gases. 
Mu22f.7 
5 Jul 1901 
William Hastie 
David Murray 
Hastie’s appreciation of Tait for the Glasgow Herald 
Edinburgh University Library Special Collections
There is a Tait Archive, with many of the items copied onto microfilm (Mic. M24?). It includes miscellaneous notes, a scrapbook c 1850 and correspondence spanning 1848 to 1901. The library is also in possession of the following:
Barrie, J M (1889) An Edinburgh Eleven. Pencil Portraits from College Life, London. (Chapter V, pp.4556, is entitled ‘Professor Tait’. This is referred to in Knott, pp. 17 & 201).
Peddie, W Tait and His Work, 7 pp. (no publisher given), 1901.
Quasi Cursores  Portraits of the High Officers and Professors of the University of Edinburgh at its Tercentenary Festival drawn and etched by William Hole, Edinburgh University Press, 1884, pp 7478.
Testimonials in favour of P.G. Tait, M.A., F.C.P.S., late fellow of St Peter’s College, Cambridge, Professor of Mathematics in the Queen’s University, as candidate for the chair of natural philosophy in the University of Edinburgh (no publisher given), 1860.
Cambridge University Library
(Information supplied by Adam Perkins, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)
Stokes Collection (MS.Add.7656)
The size and scope of the holdings pertaining to Tait unknown. Refer to Wilson’s catalogue: see below.
Kelvin Collection (MS.Add.7342)
The ‘Tait correspondence consists of 22 letters from Tait to third parties then the main body of the letters runs from T.6A  T.6.X, and T.7  T.143, which implies some 160 letters. The entries in Kelvin’s letter book number 16 in all, so there is only very little short of a total of 200 pieces in the Kelvin collection.’
The Stokes papers and the Kelvin papers are listed in
Wilson, D B (1976) Catalogue of the manuscript collections of Sir George Gabriel Stokes and Sir William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, in Cambridge University Library, Cambridge.
James Clerk Maxwell Collection (MS.Add.7655)
‘Part 1(a) has 58 pieces, mostly Tait to Maxwell but includes 3 letters from Kelvin to Maxwell. Part 1(b) is the Maxwell to Tait, 105 letters.’ Maxwell’s correspondence is comprehensively treated by Harman: see the ‘General’ section above. He provides copies of letters or excerpts of most if not all letters from Tait to Maxwell.
Lockyer Archive, Exeter University (Previously at Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth)
(Information received from Dr George A Wilkins)
Letters from Tait to Lockyer:
9 August 1869
Start of Nature: favourable
20 September 1873 (from St Andrews)
Protests about editorial note in Nature regarding Tyndall’s letter of 15 September 1873 (?). See also further letter by Tyndall of 22 September 1873.
26 September 1873
Complaining bitterly about new note by Lockyer on comments on published letter by Tyndall.
April 1874
Forwarding letter of James Sime of 13 April 1874 regarding an invitation to give a lecture in Edinburgh. (Lockyer stayed with Tait in Edinburgh while lecturing there.)
12 July 1875
Permission to print the Stokes article; Macmillan must attend to his demands about woodcuts for Recent Advances; Dewar will send anonymous paper.
16 February 1876 (from 38 George Square Edinburgh)
Errors on proof; encloses cutting for the ‘Gossip’ in next week’s Nature; enquiry about packing.
February 1876
Copy of (?) cutting from a Scottish? newspaper about row between Lockyer and Proctor.
Undated letter from University of Edinburgh, to ‘O J.N.L.’
Proctor’s abuse of Lockyer in the Cornhill; enclosed letter from Smith [not in file]; lost his [notes for] first lecture; enquires if Lockyer and Clifford will come at Easter. (Lockyer gave Tait credit for basic idea of meteoritic hypothesis.)
19 August 1891
Reply from Willard Gibbs; article by Lord Rayleigh on kinetic gas theory; Alec and Fred and golf; comet of 20 December 1652.
17 (?) August 1893 (from the Club House at St Andrews)
Angle and weight of golf club; signed T'.
22 August 1893
Angle and weight of golf club.
6 October 1893
Angle and weight of golf club; Knott and Gibbs; wind vortex; article in Golf this week
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
(Information supplied by Olive Geddes of the Manuscripts Division)
Acc.7108 consists of a collection of letters presented to the Library by Miss Margaret Tait. It includes three undated letters of Sophia JexBlake to Peter Guthrie Tait. ‘There are several other letters of and to P G Tait scattered throughout our holdings. These include correspondence with Blackwood the publishers, 18717. We also have notes on lectures given by Tait, 18801 (MS.6654), an article written by him ca.1874 and a class certificate with his signature, also 1874.’
British Library, London
Just a single letter of 1892 from Tait to John Lubbock (Add.49681 A f.93).
Sommerfeld Correspondence, University of Munich
The Institute for the History of the Natural Sciences at the University of Munich is engaged in the Sommerfeld Scientific Correspondence Project. Listed are the letters to or from Arnold Sommerfeld (written in German, unless otherwise indicated) that make mention of Tait:
To Felix Klein, 25 October 1897. Held at the Niedersächsische Staatsund Universitätsbibliothek, Göttingen, Abteilung Handschriften und seltene Drucke (Klein 11, 1043). Reference is to Tait on quaternions.
From Christian Otto Mohr, 16 November 1903. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197728/A, 237).
To Felix Klein, 6 May 1898. Held at the Niedersächsische Staatsund Universitätsbibliothek, Göttingen, Abteilung Handschriften und seltene Drucke (Klein 11, 1043). Reference is to Tait on gyroscopes.
From Diederik Johannes Korteweg, 26 July 1899. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197728/A, 178). Reference is to Tait on gyroscopes.
From Carl David Tolmé Runge, 26 July 1900. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197631).
To Felix Klein, 8 November 1900. Held at the Niedersächsische Staatsund Universitätsbibliothek, Göttingen, Abteilung Handschriften und seltene Drucke (Klein 11, 1061). Reference is to Tait on gyroscopes.
From George Bryan, 17 December 1901. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197728/A, 45). Reference is probably to Tait on the history of thermodynamics.
From Christian Otto Mohr,16 November 1903. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197728/A, 237).
From Sebastian Finsterwalder, 21 December 1903. Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file NL 89, 008). Reference is to Tait on quaternions.
From Lord Rayleigh, 12 December 1911 (in English). Held at the Deutsches Museum, München (file HS 197728/A, 281).
University of Cambridge Centre of South Asian Studies
The Tait family had at least two strong links with India and, in particular, with education in India.
Peter Guthrie Tait’s wife (née Margaret Archer Porter) was the sister of the Porter brothers with whom Tait became friends during his student days at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. William Archer Porter became Principal of Cumbaconum College in Madras. A generation on, Tait’s eldest son, John Guthrie Tait (18611945), became the Principal of Central College, Bangalore. Papers relating to his professional and family life in India were donated to the Centre of South Asian Studies by John Guthrie’s daughter, Miss Margaret Tait. They are simply labelled ‘Tait Papers’.