Roy’s Roadss

The road-network from William Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland. 1747

Colin Maclaurin, 1698-1746

Maclaurin, born in Argyll,  holds the record for being the youngest ever university professor.  A child prodigy,  at the age of 11, as a student at Glasgow University; he gave a remarkable public defence of his thesis on the power of gravity. At the age of 19 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Marischal College Aberdeen and in 1725 was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at Edinburgh. He was recommended by Sir Isaac Newton who was so impressed by the young man that he offered to pay his salary. Maclaurin was profoundly anti-Jacobite and enthusiastically assisted in defending Edinburgh from the Highland army in 1745. He was put in charge of fortifying the walls. When the city fell he had to flee to York. He died in 1746 and is buried in Greyfriars. It was said of him that the help he gave to his students "... was never wanting; nor was admittance refused to any except in his teaching hours."

Last updated Nov.2020