William Hallowes Miller

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William Hallowes Miller
Born 6 April 1801
Llandovery, Carmarthenshire
Died 20 May 1880
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Nationality British
Fields Mineralogy
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
Known for Miller indices
Notable awards Royal Medal (1870)

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

Life and work

Miller was born in 1801 at Velindre near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, North Wales.[2] He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1826 as fifth wrangler.[3] 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.

Miller indices are named after William Hallowes Miller, the method having been described in his Treatise on Crystallography (1839).[4] The mineral known as millerite is named after him.

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

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 at Cambridge, England.

Selected writings


  1. Encyclopaedia of Wales; University of Wales Press; 2008; page 627.
  2. "Obituary Notice - William Hallowes Miller". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 31: ii &ndash, vii. 1880–1881.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Miller, William Hallowes (MLR820WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Oxford English Dictionary Online, May 2007
  5. See Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1856

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Miller, William Hallowes". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>