Mathematics in Glasgow University in 1883

Staff in the Mathematics Department

Professor of Mathematics: William Jack, LL.D. appointed 1879.
Assistants to the Professor of Mathematics: J M Dodds, M.A., Fellow of St Peter's College, Cambridge, and H C Robson, M.A.

Professor of Natural Philosophy: Sir William Thomson, LL.D., D.C.L. appointed 1846.
Assistant to the Natural Philosophy: Andrew Gray, M.A.

The Examiners. The Professors and, in addition for Mathematics, Thomas Muir, M.A. appointed 1880


This Professorship was founded by the charter of Nova Erectio, in 1577 ; and the Professor was confined to the department of Natural Philosophy in 1727. The Professor is elected by the University Court.

Professors from the year 1727.

1751. Robert Dick, M.D.
1757. John Anderson, M.A.
1796. James Brown, LL.D.
1803. W Meikleham, LL.D.

The Natural Philosophy Class meets daily at 9 a.m., and at 11 a.m. or 12 noon.

The first hour is chiefly spent in statements of Principles, description of Results of Observation, and Experimental Illustrations. The second hour is devoted to Mathematical Demonstrations and Exercises, and Examinations on the Elementary parts of the course, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 11 a.m.; and to a higher Mathematical Course on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at 12 o'clock.

The Text-books used are-

A Treatise on Natural Philosophy, by Professors Sir William Thomson and P G Tait (Cambridge University Press); Elements of Natural Philosophy, by the same authors (Cambridge University Press) ; A Lecture on Navigation, by Professor Sir William Thomson (W Collins & Sons); Dynamics and Hydrostatics, by J T Bottomley (W Collins & Sons) ; Heat, and Elasticity, by Sir W Thomson, reprinted from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (A & C Black); Ganot, Experimental Physics, translated by Atkinson (Longmans & Co.) Electrical Measurements, by A Gray (Macmillan & Co.) Mathematical Tables, J T Bottomley (W Collins & Sons).

The more elementary of the treatises by Thomson and Tait, along with Dynamics and Hydrostatics by Bottomley, will be used for the work of all students of Natural Philosophy in the regular curriculum. The whole, or certain specified parts of the larger treatise will be prescribed in connection with voluntary examinations and exercises in the class, and for candidates for the degree of M.A. with honours. Students who desire to undertake these higher parts of the business of the class ought to be well prepared on all subjects of the Senior Mathematical Class.

The Laboratory in connection with the class is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Experimental Exercises and Investigations under the direction of the Professor and his official Assistant, and the Demonstrator in Experimental Physics.

The main divisions of the course are-

(1.) Abstract Dynamics (including Elements of Physical Astronomy);
(2.) Properties of Matter;
(3.) Thermodynamics;
(4.) Illustration.

Illustration is conducted partly through examples and calculations; partly by experiment.

A programme of the subjects that will be taken up, as far as time permits, during the session 1883-84, will be published before the commencement of the session, and may be had on application at the Natural Philosophy Classroom.

Fee for the Natural Philosophy Class, £4 4 0
Fee for the Students of the Second Year, £3 3 0
Fee for the Physical Laboratory, £5 5 0

This Professorship, long suppressed for want of funds, was revived by an Act of Faculty in 1691. The Professor is appointed by the University Court.

Professors from the year 1691.

1691. George Sinclair, M.D.
1711. Robert Simson, M.D.
1761. James Williamson, D.D.
1796. James Millar, M.A.
1832. James Thomson, LL.D.
1849. Hugh Blackburn, M.A.

Lower Junior Class,

Subjects: Euclid and Algebra, both from the beginning. Three parallel subdivisions of the class meet daily (except on Saturdays), one from 9 to 10, one from 10 to 11, one from 12 to 1.

Upper Junior Class,

(Or SECOND YEAR'S COURSE), for Students who have attended the first year's course, or who have otherwise acquired a knowledge of Euclid, Books I., II., III., IV., and of Algebra as represented by the first twenty-two Chapters (Chaps. XIV., XV., XIX., excepted) of Todhunter's larger Text-book. Subjects: Euclid, Books V., VI., and XI., Higher Algebra and the elements of transversals and anharmonics, Elements of Trigonometry. Two parallel subdivisions of the Class meet daily (except on Saturdays), one from 9 to 10, one from 12 to 1.

Senior Class

Subjects: Trigonometry, Geometrical and Analytical Conics, Differential and Elements of Integral Calculus. The Senior Class meets from 10 to 11 daily, except on Saturdays.

Upper Senior Class

Subjects: Integral Calculus, Spherical Trigonometry, Geometry of Three Dimensions, Differential Equations, Finite Differences. The Class meets at 11-12 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Attendance on the Mathematical Classes, for not less than two Winter Sessions, one of which must be on either the Upper Junior or the Senior Class, is required for the degree of M.A. "unless the candidate at the time of his entrance to the University shall satisfy the Professors in the Faculty of Arts, on examination, that he is qualified to attend the Senior Class," in which case, attendance on the Senior Class for one session is sufficient.

The Fee for each session is £3 3 0
The Fee for the Upper Senior Class is £2 2 0

No fee is charged for the Upper Senior to students who have completed their qualifying course of attendance for M.A., and who have attended the Senior Class. All the Mathematical Classes are free to students who have attended three complete sessions.

For the "Lorimer" and the "Muir" Bursaries in Mathematics, see under Bursaries.

N.B.- Attendance on the qualifying course of Natural Philosophy for the Degree of M.A. must be subsequent to the completion of the qualifying course of Mathematics. Two Sessions of the Lower Junior Class of Mathematics do not constitute two sessions of Mathematics for the purpose of graduation in Arts.

Here are some examination questions set at Glasgow University in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.