George William Hill made predictions concerning the movement of the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn that provided considerable contributions to the proof that the universe is orderly. In 1877, he published a paper on the motion of the moon’s perigee that introduced to mathematics his concept of infinite determinants. His astronomical theory was adapted first to practical engineering and later to modern astronomy. In 1950, former Rutgers Bureau of Engineering research director James J. Slade and a General Electric mathematics consultant outlined a formula they had evolved, based on Hill’s investigations, to the International Congress of Mathematicians. The formula enabled engineers to solve problems like airplane wing-fl utter, self-excited oscillations of turbo-generators, and design requirements to prevent catastrophes such as a bridge collapse. They also developed Hill’s equations to predict definite movements of planets, which are important in the field of navigation. Hill received a gold medal from the Royal Astronomical Society of London in 1887 and the Damoiscan Prize of the Paris Academy of Sciences for his research on the lunar theory. He died in 1914.
George William Hill
Rutgers College 1859
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of