(b London, Feb 27, 1800; d Cambridge, Feb 28, 1875).
English writer, teacher and archaeologist . After receiving his degree in mathematics at Cambridge in 1826 he was ordained priest the following year. In 1829 he was awarded a fellowship for the study of mechanics, and in 1837 he was elected Jacksonian Professor of applied mechanics at Cambridge, a position he held with distinction until his death, publishing a major book in 1841. Willis was also interested in the practical world, and in 1851 he was a juror for the Great Exhibition, at the Crystal Palace, London, reporting on manufacturing tools and lecturing on this subject, the following year, to the Royal Society of Arts.
Throughout this period Willis also studied architecture and archaeology. In 1835, after a tour of Gothic buildings in France, Germany and Italy, he published a study that was a considerable advance in its rigour and clarity on the work of earlier scholars such as Thomas Rickman...