Fellows of the Royal Society from the University

Fellows of the Royal Society from the University
2018-07-06

Over the centuries, several alumni and staff of the University of Aberdeen have been awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly referred to simply as the Royal Society. Founded in 1660, it is the oldest national scientific institution in the world and was awarded its Royal Charter by King Charles II. Being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society is extremely prestigious and is a recognition of extreme excellence only awarded to those deemed to have made an important contribution to the development of their scientific discipline. Browsing the biographies of those who have gained fellowship is a reminder of the many ground-breaking and vital discoveries that have been achieved by members of the University of Aberdeen community.

Francis Hooton, a 1996 Biochemistry graduate of the University, has assembled the following list of scientists who became Fellows of the Royal Society and who either studied or taught at the University of Aberdeen (or King’s College or Marischal College prior to their amalgamation in 1860).

To today’s readers, one thing instantly notable is the lack of women on the list, with only Dame Anne Glover having been elected as a Fellow thus far. Indeed, before the mid-20th Century the Society did not admit women at all, a sad reflection of the earlier wider trend of female exclusion from schools and Universities; however many women are now awarded Fellowship each year and it is to be hoped that many more of our outstanding female scientists will join Dame Anne on the list in the future.

A FEW NOTABLE ENTRIES

James Gregory (1638-1675)

The earliest entry on the list is that of mathematician and astronomer James Gregory, who made advances in the fields of trigonometry and calculus as well as telescope design. He studied at Marischal College from 1653-57 and was elected as a Fellow in 1668. In 1675 Gregory suffered a stroke while viewing the moons of Jupiter with his students and died at the age of just 36.

Robert Brown (1773-1858)

A botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany through his pioneering use of the microscope, Robert Brown discovered the nucleus of the plant cell and was the first observer of what came to be known as Brownian Motion. He attended Marischal College between 1790-1794 and now has a plaque dedicated to him in Cruickshank Botanical Gardens.

Alexander Ogston (1844-1929)

A student of medicine and surgery at the University of Aberdeen, Ogston obtained his MD in 1866. He then travelled widely. In 1882 he was appointed Regius Professor in Surgery at Aberdeen University. He is famous for his discovery of Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, and also did much work as a military surgeon during the First World War despite already being 70 years old when it began.

William Ogilvy Kermack (1898 – 1970)

A biochemist who developed mathematical studies of epidemic spread and established links between environmental factors and specified diseases. Co-creator of the Kermack-McKendrick theory of infectious diseases. At the age of 25 Kermack was blinded for life by a chemical explosion in his laboratory. Served as Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University from 1949 and died whilst working at his desk in Marischal College in 1970.

Anne Glover (1956 - )

Currently President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Dame Anne Glover is a biologist who was a member of staff at the University from 1983-2018. She was the first ever Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, joint chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee and served on the Scottish Council of Economic Advisers. She was Chair of Molecular and Cell Biology and a Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen before leaving for a senior position at the University of Strathclyde.

THE FULL LIST

Name Discipline Dates Lived
James Gregory Mathematics 1638-1675
David Gregory Mathematics 1661-1708
John Arbuthnot Medicine, Mathematics 1667-1735
Alexander Stuart Natural Philosophy, Medicine 1673-1742
Charles Gregory   Mathematics 1681-1754
Colin Maclaurin Mathematics 1698-1746
John Gray Mathematics ? - 1769
John Gregory Medicine 1724-1773
*William Fordyce Medicine 1724-1792
Richard Jebb Medicine 1729-1787
Alexander Garden Botany 1730-1791
William Saunders Medicine 1743-1817
William Babington Medicine, Geology 1756-1833
James McGrigor Medicine, Botany 1771-1858
Robert Brown             Botany 1773-1858
*Joseph Hume Medicine, Chemistry 1777-1855
John Fleming Marine Biology, Natural History 1785-1857
John Forbes Medicine 1787-1861
Neil Arnott Medicine 1788-1874
*William Henry Sykes Natural History, Statistics 1790-1872
*John Herschel Mathematics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Botany 1792-1871
Hugh Falconer Geology, Botany, Palaeontology 1808-1865
George Dickie Botany, Natural History 1812-1882
Robert Grant Astronomy 1814-1892
*William Edward Forster Industrialist 1818-1886
*Thomas Henry Huxley Biologist 1825-1895
James Matthews Duncan Medicine 1826-1891
Charles Wyville Thomson Marine Zoology, Botany 1830-1982
James Clerk Maxwell Physics, Mathematics 1831-1879
George King Botany 1840-1909
John Gray McKendrick Physiology 1841-1926
William Davidson Niven Engineering, Mathematics 1842-1917
David Gill        Astrophotography 1843-1914
David Ferrier Neurology, Psychology 1843-1928
Henry Alleyne Nicholson           Zoology, Geology, Palaeontology 1844-1899
Alexander Ogston                          Surgery, Microbiology  1844-1929
Patrick Manson Parasitology, Microbiology, Tropical medicine 1844-1922
Charles Niven       Mathematics 1845-1923
Francis Robert Japp                 Chemistry 1848-1925
James Cossar Ewart Zoology 1851-1933
James William Helenus Trail     Botany 1851-1919
George Chrystal Algebra, Wave Mechanics 1851-1911
John Alexander MacWilliam    Medicine, Physiology 1857-1937
Hector Munro Macdonald Mathematics 1865-1935
Arthur Robertson Cushny Medicine 1866-1926
Arthur Keith Medicine, Anatomy 1866-1955
William Bulloch Bacteriology 1868-1941
James Charles Philip Chemistry 1873-1941
John MacLeod Biochemistry, Physiology 1876-1935
Frederick Soddy Physics 1877-1956
John Boyd Orr Nutrition, Agriculture 1880-1971
George Paget Thomson Physics 1892-1975
Alexander Stuart Watt Plant Ecology, Forestry 1892-1985
Lancelot Hogben Mathematics, Biology, Zoology 1895-1975
Alexander Robertson Chemistry 1896-1970
Alister Hardy        Marine Biology 1896-1984
William Ogilvy Kermack Biochemistry 1898-1970
Hans Walter Kosterlitz Pharmacology, Endorphines 1903-1996
John McMichael Medicine 1904-1993
Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards Zoology 1906-1997
Harry Work Melville Chemistry 1908-2000
*Peter Markham Scott Ornithology, Conservation 1909-1989
Gordon Hindle Rawcliffe Electrical Engineering 1910-1979
Reginald Jones Physics 1911-1997
Norman Davidson Biochemistry 1911-1972
Thomas Stanley Westoll Geology, Palaeontology, Anatomy 1912-1995
Richard Synge Biochemistry 1914-1994
Harry R Pitt Mathematician 1914-2005
Frederick Stewart Geology 1916-2001
Stanley H Bowie Geochemistry 1917-2008
Paul Egerton Weatherley Botany, Plant Physiology 1917-2001
William Wilton Douglas Pharmacology 1922-1998
George Alan Garton Biochemistry 1922-2010
Eric Denton Marine Biology, Biophysics 1923-2007
Duncan Greenwood Soil Science 1932-2010
Thomas Summers West Chemistry 1927-2010
Paul Gordon Jarvis Botany 1935-2013
J B McLeod Mathematics 1929-2014
Ian Robert Young Physics 1932-
J Michael T Thompson Physics, Dynamics 1937-
John James Skehel Virologist, Biochemist 1941-
John Hughes Pharmacology, Neuroscience 1942-
Kenneth Reid Biochemistry 1944-
Raymond W Ogden  Engineering, Mathematics 1945-
James Prosser Microbiology 1951-
Michael J. Benton Palaeobiology 1956-
Peter George Bruce Chemistry 1956-
Anne Glover Biochemistry, Microbiology, Scientific Policy 1956-
Neil A R Gow Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry 1957-
John Speakman Zoology 1958-
Peter Smith Soil & Climate Science 1965-

 

*Held the position of Rector of the University

 

Please note that this list may be incomplete. If you know of another Fellow of the Royal Society who studied or taught at the University of Aberdeen, please get in touch. For more detail on the list please visit the Library.

 

Published by Alumni Relations, University of Aberdeen

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