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Historical Buildings of the University of Porto - Rectory Building

Biography of Francisco Gomes Teixeira (1851-1933)

Retrato de Francisco Gomes Teixeira / Portrait of Francisco Gomes TeixeiraFrancisco Gomes Teixeira was born on 28 January 1851 in the parish of S. Cosmado, in the Douro council of Armamar.

He attended primary school in his village, secondary school in the college of Father Roseira, in Lamego (Lamego College) and university in Coimbra. Here he studied Mathematics (1869-1874), which he chose by chance among the three possible choices he had (mathematics, law and ecclesiastical career) and took the subjects of the Philosophy course, on a voluntary basis.

He completed the degree in 1874 and was approved unanimously with full marks. On 8 January of the following year, he sat the undergraduate exam and was approved unanimously. On 30 June, he defended the dissertation titled "Integration of equations in second order partial derivatives" and "Theories of pure and applied mathematics". Finally, on 18 July he achieved the rank of "Grand Doctor at the Faculty of Mathematics" and was graded "Very good, with full marks".

At the age of 25, he became Substitute Teacher at the University of Coimbra, and submitted a dissertation in the field of analytical geometry. He then taught the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th chairs of Mathematics. Three years later, he was appointed Substitute Teacher, and in 1878 he was named third astronomer of the newly created Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon. Here, after teaching for a short period of time, he returned to Coimbra.

In 1880, he was promoted to the position of Professor of "Differential and Integral Calculus" (1880-1883) and to Full Professor of the Faculty of Mathematics of the University of Coimbra.

When he was 30 he married Ana Arminda Cardoso, from Porto, the only daughter of a trader, who bore him three daughters.

In November 1882, he volunteered to replace the 1st year teacher, and in 1883, due to family reasons, he moved to the Polytechnic Academy of Porto, where he held the position of Director (1886), taught the 3rd (1887) and 2nd chairs (1889) and promoted the reform of the disciplines of Mathematics.

Fotografia do Busto de Francisco Gomes Teixeira - Escadaria Nobre da Reitoria da U.Porto / Photo of the Bust of Francisco Gomes Teixeira - Noble Steps of the Rectory of the U.PortoWith the creation of the University of Porto, in 1911, Gomes Teixeira was appointed its first rector. Seven years later, he was nominated Honorary Rector, but continued to teach "Differential and Integral Calculus" at the Faculty of Sciences until 1929. In this year, he was awarded the title of Honorary Director of the Research Institute of the History of Mathematics, which he previously directed.

Francisco Gomes Teixeira lived in Porto in Rua Costa Cabral. He spent his holidays in Matosinhos and travelled frequently abroad, normally with his daughters.

He published his research work in several international distinguished journals and was awarded by the academies of Sciences of Madrid, Paris and Lisbon.
He was a member of academies, societies and scientific committees, in both Portugal and abroad. He received many distinctions and was honoured on several occasions: in Armamar, Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon.

The dedication to science and teaching did not stop his involvement in national political life. He was a member of the courts for the Regenerator Party in 1879, 1883 and 1884. In 1906, he joined the Liberal Regenerator Party, was a member of the Higher Council of Public Education (1908) and joined the Advisory Board of Studies (1923).

During the last years of his life, he wrote texts on the History of Mathematics, and books on his travels and religious themes ("Mountain Sanctuaries", "Apotheosis of St. Francis of Assisi (his life and work)", "A Saint and a Wise Woman. Clara de Assis and Sofia Kovalewsky" and "St. Anthony of Lisbon (History, tradition and Legend)".

He died on 8 February 1933 and was buried, as was his desire, in the Church of S. Cosmado, Armamar, in a tomb he had ordered, with a Latin inscription written by him.

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