Famous Mathematicians from Scotland People

Famous Mathematicians from Scotland

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List of notable or famous mathematicians from Scotland, with bios and photos, including the top mathematicians born in Scotland and even some popular mathematicians who immigrated to Scotland. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Scottish mathematicians then this list is the perfect resource for you. These mathematicians are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known mathematician from Scotland is included when available.

List contains people like James Gregory and John Napier.

This historic mathematicians from Scotland list can help answer the questions "Who are some Scottish mathematicians of note?" and "Who are the most famous mathematicians from Scotland?" These prominent mathematicians of Scotland may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Scottish mathematicians.

Use this list of renowned Scottish mathematicians to discover some new mathematicians that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (28 items)



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  1. 1
    Alexander Macfarlane
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    Alexander Macfarlane FRSE was a Scottish logician, physicist, and mathematician. Macfarlane was born in Blairgowrie, Scotland and studied at the University of Edinburgh. His doctoral thesis "The disruptive discharge of electricity" reported on experimental results from the laboratory of Peter Guthrie ...more

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    • Age: Died at 62 (1851-1913)
    • Birthplace: Blairgowrie and Rattray, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist
  2. 2

    Alexander Wilson FRSE was a Scottish surgeon, type-founder, astronomer, mathematician and meteorologist. He was the first scientist to record the use of kites in meteorological investigations. His son Patrick Wilson succeeded him as Regius Professor of Practical Astronomy at Glasgow University, in 1784.more

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    • Age: Died at 72 (1714-1786)
    • Birthplace: St Andrews, Scotland
    • Profession: Mathematician
  3. 3

    Colin Mackenzie

    Colin Mackenzie
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    Colonel Colin Mackenzie was Scottish army officer in the British East India Company who later became the first Surveyor General of India. He was a collector of antiquities and an orientalist. He surveyed southern India, making use of local interpreters and scholars to study religion, oral histories, ...more

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    • Age: Died at 67 (1754-1821)
    • Birthplace: Stornoway, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Engineer
  4. 4
    David Brewster
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    Sir David Brewster KH PRSE FRS FSA FSSA MICE was a Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, writer, historian of science and university principal. Most noted for his contributions to the field of optics, he studied the double refraction by compression and discovered the photoelastic ...more

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    • Age: Died at 87 (1781-1868)
    • Birthplace: Scottish Borders, Jedburgh, Eurasia, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, + more
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Writer, Philosopher
  5. 5
    David Gregory
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    David Gregory FRS was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer. He was professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford, and a commentator on Isaac Newton's Principia. The fourth of the fifteen children of David Gregorie, a doctor from ...more

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    • Age: Died at 49 (1659-1708)
    • Birthplace: Aberdeen, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician
  6. 6

    Sir David James Wallace, CBE, FRS, FRSE, FREng, DL is a physicist and was the Master of Churchill College, Cambridge. from 2006 to 2014.more

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    • Age: age 70
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist
  7. 7
    Eric Temple Bell
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    Eric Temple Bell was a Scottish-born mathematician and science fiction writer who lived in the United States for most of his life. He published non-fiction under his given name and fiction as John Taine.more

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    • Age: Died at 77 (1883-1960)
    • Birthplace: Peterhead, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Novelist, Writer
  8. 8
    James Clerk Maxwell
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    James Clerk Maxwell FRS FRSE was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as manifestations of the same phenomenon.more

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    • Age: Died at 48 (1831-1879)
    • Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer
  9. 9
    James Crichton
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    James Crichton, known as the Admirable Crichton, was a Scottish polymath noted for his extraordinary accomplishments in languages, the arts, and sciences before he was killed at the age of 21.more

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    • Age: Died at 22 (1560-1582)
    • Birthplace: Dumfries, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Scientist
  10. 10

    James Dickson Murray FRS, is Professor Emeritus of applied mathematics at University of Washington and University of Oxford. He is best known for his authoritative and extensive work entitled Mathematical Biology, recently re-edited. Educated at St. Andrews University where he received with honours a ...more

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    • Age: age 84
    • Birthplace: Moffat, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician
  11. 11
    James Gregory
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    James Gregory FRS was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer. He described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. In his book Geometriae Pars ...more

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    • Age: Died at 37 (1638-1675)
    • Birthplace: Drumoak, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Astronomer
  12. 12

    Sir James Ivory was a Scottish mathematician. Ivory was born in Dundee, son of James Ivory the renowned clock maker, and attended Dundee Grammar School. In 1779 he entered the University of St Andrews, distinguishing himself especially in mathematics. He then studied theology; but, after two sessions at ...more

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    • Age: Died at 77 (1765-1842)
    • Birthplace: Dundee, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Scientist
  13. 13

    John Aitchison is a Scottish statistician. He studied at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge. From 1966 to 1976 he was Titular Professor of Statistics, and Mitchell Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Glasgow. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1968. In 1976 he ...more

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    • Age: age 89
    • Birthplace: Scotland
    • Profession: Mathematician, Statistician
  14. 14

    John Craig

    John Craig was a Scottish mathematician and theologian. Born in Dumfries and educated at the University of Edinburgh, he moved to England and became a vicar in the Church of England. A friend of Isaac Newton, he wrote several minor works about the new calculus. He is mainly known for his book Theologiae ...more

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    • Age: Died at 68 (1663-1731)
    • Birthplace: Scotland
    • Profession: Mathematician
  15. 15

    John Keill was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was primarily a mathematician and important disciple of Isaac Newton. He studied at Edinburgh University, under David Gregory, and obtained his bachelor's degree in 1692 with a distinction in physics and mathematics. Keill then attended Balliol College, ...more

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    • Age: Died at 50 (1671-1721)
    • Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician
  16. 16
    John Leslie
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Sir John Leslie was a Scottish mathematician and physicist best remembered for his research into heat. Leslie gave the first modern account of capillary action in 1802 and froze water using an air-pump in 1810, the first artificial production of ice. In 1804, he experimented with radiant heat using a ...more

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    • Age: Died at 66 (1766-1832)
    • Birthplace: Fife, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Scientist
  17. 17

    John Mackintosh Howie, CBE, FRSE, was a Scottish mathematician and prominent semigroup theorist. Howie was educated at Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen, the University of Aberdeen and Balliol College, Oxford. He won the Keith Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1979-81. He was Regius Professor of ...more

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    • Age: Died at 75 (1936-2011)
    • Birthplace: United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician
  18. 18
    John Napier
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John Napier of Merchiston — also signed as Neper, Nepair — nicknamed Marvellous Merchiston, was a Scottish landowner known as a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. He was the 8th Laird of Merchiston. His Latinized name was Joanne Nepero or Joannis Neperi. John Napier is best known as the ...more

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    • Age: Died at 67 (1550-1617)
    • Birthplace: Merchiston Tower, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Astrologer
  19. 19
    John Playfair
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John Playfair FRSE, FRS was a Scottish scientist and mathematician, and a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He is perhaps best known for his book Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth, which summarised the work of James Hutton. It was through this book that ...more

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    • Age: Died at 71 (1748-1819)
    • Birthplace: Eurasia, United Kingdom, Scotland, Angus, United Kingdom, + more
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist
  20. 20
    Joseph Wedderburn
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Joseph Henry Maclagan Wedderburn FRSE FRS was a Scottish mathematician, who taught at Princeton University for most of his career. A significant algebraist, he proved that a finite division algebra is a field, and part of the Artin–Wedderburn theorem on simple algebras. He also worked on group theory ...more

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    • Age: Died at 66 (1882-1948)
    • Birthplace: Forfar, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician
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