a celebrated astronomer and mathematician, elder brother of the
subject of the following notice, was born at Edinburgh, December 1,
1671, and studied at the university of that city, under the
mathematical professor, David Gregory. In 1694, on the removal of
Gregory to Oxford, Keill accompanied him, and was admitted to one of
the Scotch exhibitions (or bursaries) at Baliol college, where he read
lectures on the Newtonian philosophy. In 1698 he published an
‘Examination of Dr. Burnet’s Theory of the Earth, with Remarks on Mr.
Whiston’s Theory,’ which led to answers from both, to which, in 1699,
he printed a reply. In 1700 he was selected by Dr. Millington,
Sedelian professor of natural philosophy at Oxford, to be his
assistant, and was the first who illustrated the principals of Newton
by experiments, having invented an apparatus for the purpose. About
1708 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, on which he wrote a
paper on the Laws of Attraction, inserted in the Philosophical
Transactions. About the same period he engaged in a controversy with
Leibnitz, relative to that philosopher’s claim to the invention of the
doctrine of fluxions, and communicated to the Royal Society an able
vindication of Newton’s title to the discovery. In 1709, being
appointed treasurer to the German exiles from the Palatinate, he
accompanied them to the settlements granted to them in New England. On
his return in the year following, he was nominated successor of Dr.
Caswell, Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford.
having been urged against the Newtonian philosophy, on the foundation
of Des Cartes’ notions of a plenum, Keill again came forward in
defence of Sir Isaac, by publishing a paper in the Philosophical
Transactions for 1713, ‘On the Rarity of Matter, and the Tenuity of
its Composition.’ While engaged in this dispute, Queen Anne appointed
him her decipherer, in which situation he continued till 1716. In 1713
the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of M.D. He died
September 1, 1721.
of Burnet’s Theory of the Earth; to which are added, Remarks upon
Whiston’s New Theory. Oxford, 1698, 8vo. The same; with a Dissertation
on the Celestial Bodies; from the French of Maupertuis, Lond. 1734,
of the Reflections on the Theory of the Earth; together with a Defence
of the Remarks on Whiston’s New Theory. Oxford, 1699, 8vo.
ad Veram Physicam, accedunt Christiani Hugenii Theoremata de Vi
Centrifuga et Motu circulari Demonstrata, seu Lectiones Physicae in
Schola Naturalis Philosophiae, Oxon. habitae. Oxford, 1701, 1702,
1705, 8vo. Lond. 1715, 8vo. Camb. 1741, 8vo. This is supposed to be
the best and most useful of all his performances. An English
translation was printed at London 1736.
Auteurs des Remarques, sur le Difference entre M. De Leibnitz et M.
Newton. 1713, 8vo.
ad Veram Physicam, et Veram Astronomiam, Quibus accedunt,
Trigonometriae Elementa, de Viribus Centralibus Epistolae et Leges
Attrractionis. Oxford, 1715, 8vo. Lugd. Bat. 1725, 1739, 4to.
Trigonometriae Elementa, et de Logarithmis, Tractatus. Oxford, 1715,
ad Veram Astronomiam, seu Lectionis Astronomicae. Oxf. 1718, 8vo. 2d
edit. auctior et emendatior. Lond. 1721, 8vo. The same, in English;
translated by himself, and published under the title of, An
Introduction to the true Astronomy; or, Astronomical Lectures read in
the Astronomical Schools of the University of Oxford. Lond. 1721,
Joannem Bernoullium, in qua Isaacum Newtonum et seipsum contra
Criminationes, in Actis Lipsiensibus a Crusio quodam, publicatas,
defendit. Lond. 1720, 4to. This relates to a contest between Leibnitz
and Keill, respecting the invention of Fluxions, in which the latter
behaved with great firmness and spirit.
The Laws of
Attraction and other Physical Principles. Phil. Trans. Abr. v. 417.
On the Laws
of Centripetal Force. Ib. 435.
Newtonian Solution of Kepler’s Problem, of finding the true Motion of
the Planets, describing Areas proportional to the Times, in elliptical
Orbits, about one of the Foci, demonstrated and illustrated with
Examples. Ib. vi. 1, 1713.
quaedam Infinitam Materiae Divisibilitatem Spectantia, quae ejusdem
Raritatem et Tenuem Compositionem Demonstrant, quorum ope plurimae in
Physica tolluntur Difficultates. Ib. 91. 1714.
on Mr. John Bernoulli’s Remarks on the Inverse Problem of Centripetal
Forces; with a New Solution of the same Problem. Ib. 93.
epistolicum collusii et aliorum, de Analysi Promota, concerning the
Dispute between Mr. Leibnitz and Dr. Deill, about the Right of the
Invention of the Method of Fluxions, by some called the Differential
Method. Ib. 116. 1714. Consisting of several Letters and Papers, in
the custody of the Royal Society.
an eminent physician, younger brother of the preceding, was born,
March 27, 1663. He received his education at Edinburgh, and pursued
his medical studies at Leyden and other foreign universities. On his
return, having acquired a thorough knowledge of anatomy, he delivered
lectures on that science at Oxford and Cambridge, and received from
the latter the degree of M.D. He was a fellow of the Royal Society,
and contributed several papers to the Philosophical Transactions. He
had a controversy with Dr. Jurin on the force of the heart. In 1700 he
settled at Northampton, where he died of a cancer in the mouth, July
Course of Chemistry, translated. London, 1698.
the Human Body abridged; or a Short and Full View of all the Parts of
the Body, with their uses, drawn from their Compositions and
Structures. Lond. 1698, 1703, 12mo. 1718, 8vo. Of this little work the
4th edition was published in 1710, and the 11th
in 1742; besides these, it was printed several times in Edinburgh, &c.
of Animal Secretion; the quantities of Blood in the Human Body, and
Muscular Motion. Lon. 1708. 8vo.
several Parts of the Animal Economy. Lond. 1717, 1738, 8vo. 4th
edit. This is a reprint of the preceding, with the addition of an
Essay concerning the force of the Heart in driving the Blood through
the whole Body.
Medico-Physica ad Economiam Animalem accommodata, quibus accessit
Medicina Statica Britannica. Lond. 1718, 8vo. Leyden, 1741, 4to. Lucc.
the Death and Dissection of John Bayles, reputed to have been 130
years old. Phil. Trans. Abr. v. 299, 1706.
Animal Secretion; the quantity of Blood in the Human Body; Muscular
Motion. Ib. 492.
Viribus Cordis. Ib. Abr. vi. 415, 1719.