Mathematics in Aberdeen University in 1883

Staff in the Mathematics Department

Professor of Mathematics: George Pirie M.A. appointed 1878.
Assistant to the Professor of Mathematics: John Jack, M.A.

Professor of Natural Philosophy: Charles Niven, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S. appointed 1880.
Assistant to the Professor of Natural Philosophy: William B Morren, M.A.

The Examiners: The Professors and, in addition for Mathematics, Peter J Anderson, M.A., LL.B. appointed 1880.




1860 (1851) FREDERICK FULLER, M.A., retired 1878.


There are two Mathematical Classes. The Junior Class meets two hours a-day for five days in the week. The subjects are - Elementary Geometry so far as is contained in Euclid's elements, Books I., II., III., IV., VI., and XI. to Prop. 21; Algebra; and Plane Trigonometry. The first hour each day is devoted to Geometry and Plane Trigonometry, under the superintendence of the Professor. The second hour is devoted to Algebra, and, when the class has proceeded as far as quadratic equations, it is divided, and the less advanced Students (usually about one-third of the whole number) pursue a more elementary course in the higher parts of the subject, under the direction of the Assistant. The text-books recommended are Todhunter's "Algebra" and Todhunter's "Trigonometry".

The Senior Class meets one hour a-day for five days in the week. The subjects are Geometrical Conic Sections, Spherical Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, and the Differential and Integral Calculus. This class also is divided about the middle of the Session, on the same principle as the Junior Class. The text-books recommended are Drew's "Conic Sections," Salmon's or Todhunter's "Conic Sections," Todhunter's "Spherical Trigonometry," and Todhunter's or Williamson's "Differential Calculus," and "Integral Calculus".

In Teaching and in Examining Exercises the Professor is aided by his Assistant.

The Fees are, for the first attendance, £3 3s., for the second, £2 2s., and for subsequent attendance, £1 1s.




1860 (1845) DAVID THOMSON, M.A., died 1880.

1880 CHARLES NIVEN, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S.

There are two classes of Natural Philosophy - a Junior Class, attendance on which is required for the Degree of M.A., a Senior Class, and a class for practical instruction in Physical measurements. Attendance on these two latter classes is not imperative.

The Junior Class meets one hour daily for five days in the week for Lectures, and one hour every alternate day for examination, or for extra work. The course embraces the subjects of Statics, Dynamics, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics, the Theory of Heat, &c., the whole being treated both Experimentally and Mathematically.

The Senior Class is divided into two sections, to both of which on three days each week the subjects of Electricity, Magnetism, and Acoustics are presented in a non-mathematical and experimental form - while in the other, or second section, on two additional days of the week, the same subjects are treated more fully.

In the Practical Class, students receive a course of instruction in practical measurements in the subjects of the Junior and Senior Courses.

In making Experiments and Examining the Classes, the Professor is aided by his Assistant.

The Fees are, for the Junior Class, £3 3s., for the First Section of the Senior Class, £1 1s., and for the Second Section, £2 2s. for subsequent attendance on the Junior Class, £1 1s.


Examination of Students passing from the Junior to the Senior Mathematical Class - Saturday 26th October (10 to 1).

Subjects:- Elementary Geometry, Algebra, and Plane Trigonometry.

The Examination of Students claiming to enter the Senior Mathematical Class, without previous attendance on the Junior, will be held on Saturday, 27 October (10 to 1), and will embrace the following subjects:-

Elementary Geometry, as far as contained in Euclid, Books I., II., III., IV., VI., to Prop. 21. Algebra and Trigonometry.


1. Pure Mathematics:- Saturday, 27 October, 1883 (2 to 4), and Monday, 29th October, 1883 (9 to 12), and Wednesday, 26th March, 1884 (2 to 6), and Thursday, 27th March, 1884 (9 to 12).
Subjects taught in the Junior and Senior Classes.

2. Natural Philosophy:- Saturday, 27 October, 1883 (4 to 6), and Tuesday, 30th October, 1883 (3 to 6), and Tuesday 18th March, 1884 (9 to 1), and Thursday, 20th Match, 1884 (9 to 12).
The subjects treated in the Junior Class, together with Optics and Astronomy.
(For the last two subjects O Airy's Optics and Main's Introduction to Plane Astronomy are recommended.)



1. Pure Mathematics.

Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry (Plane and Spherical), Conic Sections, Theory of Equations, Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions, and Differential and Integral Calculus, including the Solution of Differential Equations.

The examination in the Integral Calculus will be confined to the following subjects:- " Integration, application to lengths and areas of curves, volumes of solids, and to questions of mean value; definition and chief properties of the Gamma functions."

Works recommended in addition to those used in the Class:- Todhunter's Theory of Equations, Sections I., Ill. to XIII., and Sections XXVIII. and XXIX. (2nd Ed.), or Burnside and Panton's Theory of Equations, Chapters I. to VIII., and X., XI.; Aldis' Solid Geometry, Chapters I. to Vlll., IX. (except Curvature of Curves), and X. (2nd Ed.); Booles' Differential Equations, Chapters 1. to III., VII., IX. to XIV., XVI. (2nd Ed.)

2. Natural Philosophy.

Subjects treated of in the Junior Class.

Senior Class Examinations.

Todhunter's Statics, First Ten Chapters, Chap. Xl. (Arts. 182 to 186 inclusive), XII. (198 to 200 inclusive), and XIII. (203 to 220 inclusive).

Besant's Hydromechanics, Chapters I., II., III., IV. (to Art. 52 inclusive), V.

Tait and Steele's Dynamics (3rd Ed.), Chapters I. to V., and also Arts. 159 to 162, 171, 176 to 186, 288 to 298, 299 to 304 (all inclusive).

Honours in the Department of Mathematics 1882.

First Class: 4 students; Wm C Dickson, William Ingram, Robert S Kemp (Boxhill Mathematical Prizeman, and Arnott Prizeman), William Thomson (Simpson Mathematical Prizeman).

Second Class: 3 students; Ronald W F Shaw, Charles Watt, Alex Wilson.

JOC/EFR January 2020 School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
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