Lawyers in Engineering, Math & Science



Ibn Sina (Avicenna)

12th Century physician and jurist who wrote extensively on topics

(980 -1037)

ranging from Aristotle to astronomy.


U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Nicolaus Copernicus

Studied canon law at Bologna and was appointed a canon. He

(1473 -1543)

eventually received his doctorate in law from Ferrara and served as

  counsel to his uncle, a bishop, before engaging in full time scientific




U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


François Viète

Received his law degree from the University of Poitiers. After brief

(1540 -1603)

period of practice, he became engaged as councillor to various
  governments and eventually, Henry IV of France. A self-professed
  non-mathematician, he was nonetheless actively involved in numerous,
  seminal practical and theoretical projects. He introduced the first
  cohesive symbolic algebra system, which influenced Descartes' work.


He is sometimes called "the father of algebra".


U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Francis Bacon

Holder of many public British legal offices, including that of Lord

(1561 -1626)

Chancellor, Bacon's prolific writing is credited with the establishment


of the scientific method and birth of the scientific age.


Luminarium Portrait of Francis Bacon


Claude Mydorge

Educated as an attorney in France. Prolific writer in the areas of

(1585 -1647)

geometry and optics. Designed and built optical instruments, including


ones used by his friend, René Descartes.


U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


René Descartes Said to have studied law and obtained degree from Poitiers.
(1596 -1650) Inspirations during life as a soldier led to seminal work in mathematical
  philosophy. His theories provided groundwork for computational
  framework pursued by Leibniz through Turing and beyond.
  Catalog of the Scientific Community


Wolfgang Lochman German lawyer, mathematician and engineer. Wrote Instrumentum
(1594 -1642) mathematicorum in 1626, which describes numerous self-developed,
  scientific measuring devices which improved upon the work of such
  predecessors as Kepler.
  Catalog Description of Lochman's Book


Claude Hardy Active French parliamentary lawyer. He engaged in theoretical
(1598 -1678) work concerning the problem of duplication of the cube. More
  significantly, he brought mathematicians together, including
  Descartes and Mydorge and supported their efforts, particularly
  those of Descartes.
  U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Pierre de Fermat Received law degree from Orléans and became parliamentary
(1601 -1665) councillor, achieving membership in elite circles of law. Throughout
  life, he maintained active mathematical friendships. His work in
  number theory is the most famous of his numerous contributions to
  theoretical and applied mathematics.
  U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Otto von Guericke Studied law at Jena and entered public life at Magdeburg as alderman
(1602 -1686) magistrate, and mayor. Developed air pumps, static machines and
  mercury barometers. He maintained correspondence with Leibniz and
  other prominent scientific and mathematical personalities.
  Catalog of the Scientific Community


Wm. G. von Leibniz Received doctorate of law from Altdorf. His work in philosophy and
(1646 -1716) mathematics, aimed at the representation and unification of knowledge,
  formed a groundwork for modern computation.
  U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Willem 'sGravesande Legal education from Leiden. Practiced law and diplomacy in the
(1688 -1742) Netherlands. Working in England, he was elected to the Royal Society
  & associated with Newton, becoming a key proponant of Newtonian
  theory. Eventually made professor of mathematics, astronomy and
  philosophy at Leiden.
  U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Chester Moore Hall British attorney. Invented, in 1729-30, the compound achromatic
(1703 -1771) lens system, significantly contributing to the improvement of tools
  used in astronomical investigation.
  Greater Hartford Astronomical Society Description


Ezra Stiles Member of Connecticut Bar Association and president of Yale
(1727 -1795) University. A correspondent of Benjamin Franklin and an early
  investigator of electrical phenomena, he is credited with the early
  encouragement of science at Yale and within the new nation.
  eMuseum - Brief Biography


Johann von Goethe Practiced law with his father in Frankfurt. Left to develop his writing
(1749 -1832) abilities. In addition to his humanistic and literary work, he wrote
  about the place of the senses in scientific investigation and studied
  numerous scientific fields, including geology, color, meteorology and
  plant physiology.
  Minn. State at Mankato: Page on Goethe


Thomas Cooper Political activist and eventually, a Pennsylvania judge. His opposition
(1759 -1839) to the Sedition Act earned a jail sentence. Became professor of
  chemistry at a number of universities, and was president of South
  Carolina College.
  Thomas Cooper Society Home Page


Amedeo Avogadro

Successful lawyer who became Italy's first chair of mathematical

(1776 -1856)

physics at Turin. His work on the determination of masses remains


essential theory within physics.


Home Page of Avogadro


Amos Eaton

Entered adult life as a practicing lawyer in New York. Eventually

(1776 -1842)

undertook career as surveyor & botanist. A founder of the

  Rensselaer School, where he pioneered educational principles grounded
  in empirical, laboratory-based methods. A proponent of women's


education within arts and sciences in higher education.


Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame


Francis Horner

A Scottish lawyer and English barrister, Horner, at the age of twenty,

(1778 -1817)

published a translation of Euler's algebra work and wrote a biography

  of the mathematician. He also worked in chemistry and anatomy.
  With Henry Brougham and others, founded the Edinburgh Review.


He was elected to Parliament as a Whig.


Brief Biography


Henry Brougham

Also a Scottish lawyer and English barrister, Brougham was the

(1778 -1868)

youngest person to read a paper on mathematics to the Royal

  Society. He founded the Edinburgh Society of Physics. He remained
  an active trial lawyer and was a Whig member of Parliament, an
  opponent of slavery, a womens' rights activist and eventually was


made lord chancellor.


Brief Biography


Benjamin Silliman

Although educated as a lawyer, Silliman was offered Yale's first

(1779 -1864)

professorship of chemistry and natural history. He undertook self-
  education in these areas as well as medicine. Noted as a pioneer
  of American scientific education, his specimens and collections


comprised one of the best in the nation.


Yale's Peabody Museum Narrative


James Hamilton

American lawyer and scientist. First to establish bequest to the

(1793 -1873)

Smithsonian Institution for advances in science.


Brief Description at Smithsonian Site


Sir John Wrottesley

While practicing law in England, he constructed an observatory. His

(1798 -1867)

work was judged to merit election to the Royal Society and he later

  served as its president. His recommendations for improved 
  navigational techniques were adopted by the government.


Wolverhampton Astronomical Society


Abraham Lincoln

Member of the Illinois bar and only United States President to be

(1809 -1865)

awarded a patent. His 1848 submission described a device which

  could move boats over sand bars through the use of bouyancy


Description of Lincoln's Patent


Sir William R. Grove Member of Lincoln's Inn. Knighted and made a Queen's Counsel and
(1811 -1896) finally, a judge. In the process, he participated in early cases relating to
  photographic processes and forensic evidence of poisoning. Credited
  with the invention of the fuel cell in 1839 which was based on the
  work of Sir Humphrey Davy.
  University of Illinois Plasma Material Group on Grove
  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Page of Grove


Calotype Patent Lawsuit Page


Arthur Cayley Practicing attorney who published mathematical work while still an
(1821 -1895) undergraduate. Published over 250 mathematics papers during his
  tenure as a lawyer. Gave up the law to become professor of
  mathematics at Cambridge.


U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Alford Bray Kempe

London barrister. At Cambridge, he was a student of Arthur Cayley. At
(1849 -1922) law, he served as an Anglican Canon lawyer. His ongoing work in the


field of mathematics earned him election to the Royal Society. He is
  perhaps best known as a contributor to the investigation of the
  Four Color Problem and did seminal work in the area of the psychology


of mathematical investigation.


U. of St. Andrews: History of Mathematics


Ashutosh Mookerjee

Lawyer and mathematician. Ended a distinguished legal career as a
(1864 -1924) Kolkata High Court judge. He was knighted in 1911. Hailed as one of the
  major figures in Indian education, he was Vice Chancellor of Calcutta
  University, where he instituted inititatives in math and science
  Biographical Site



Jacques Ellul

Earned doctor of law degree at Paris. Prolific writer and one of

(1912 -1994) of the earliest modern thinkers to confront the problems of new
  technologies and their relationship to society.
  The Jacques Ellul Web Site