William Hallowes Miller

Prof William Hallowes Miller FRS HFRSE LLD DCL (6 April 1801 20 May 1880) was a Welsh mineralogist and laid the foundations of modern crystallography.[1]

William Hallowes Miller
Born6 April 1801
Died20 May 1880 (1880-05-21) (aged 79)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
Known forMiller indices
AwardsRoyal Medal (1870)
Scientific career

Miller indices are named after him, the method having been described in his Treatise on Crystallography (1839).[2] The mineral known as millerite is named after him.

Life and work

Miller was born in 1801 at Velindre near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, South Wales.[3] He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1826 as fifth wrangler.[4] He became a Fellow there in 1829. For a few years Miller was occupied as a college tutor and during this time he published treatises on hydrostatics and hydrodynamics.

Miller also gave special attention to crystallography, and at 31 years old, on the resignation of William Whewell he succeeded in 1832 to the professorship of mineralogy, a post he held until 1870. Miller's chief work, on Crystallography, was published in 1839. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1838 and received the Royal Medal in 1870, and in the same year was appointed on the International Commission du Metre. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1874.

Miller was the main thrust in reforming the Parliamentary standards of length and weight, after a fire which in 1834 destroyed the old standards. He was a member of the committee as well as on the Royal Commission which oversaw these new standards.[5]

Miller died in 1880 in Cambridge, England.


In 1844 he married Harriet Susan Minty.

Selected writings

In 1852 Miller edited a new edition of H. J. Brooke's Elementary Introduction to Mineralogy.


  1. Encyclopaedia of Wales; University of Wales Press; 2008; page 627.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary Online, May 2007
  3. "Obituary Notice - William Hallowes Miller". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 31: ii–vii. 1880–1881.
  4. "Miller, William Hallowes (MLR820WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. See Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1856

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Miller, William Hallowes". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.