John Sturgeon Mackay


Born: 22 October 1843 in Auchencairn near Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Died: 26 March 1914 in Edinburgh, Scotland

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John S Mackay's parents were Jessie Sturgeon and John Mackay. He was brought up in Perth were he attended Perth Academy. He entered the University of St Andrews in 1959 and he graduated with an M.A., completing the course in 1863, but only graduating formally two years later.

Mackay was appointed as a Mathematics Master at Perth Academy in 1863, spending three years in this post while he attended the Theological Hall with the intention of entering the United Presbyterian Church. However, he decided that he would make teaching his career and in 1866 he was appointed as a Mathematics Master at the Edinburgh Academy; he held this post until he retired in 1904.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 6 February 1882 having been proposed by Peter Guthrie Tait, George Chrystal, H C Fleeming Jenkin, Alexander Dickson. He served the Royal Society of Edinburgh as a Councillor from 1895 to 1898, and again from 1900 to 1903.

Mackay was an active member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. He is famed as the first President of the Society in 1883.

His obituary, written by George A Gibson, was published in the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. You can see it at THIS LINK.

He was also a member of the Franco-Scottish Society. He was honoured by the University of St Andrews when he was awarded an honorary LL.D. in 1884.

Mackay was unmarried. He lived at 69 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh, where he died at the age of 70.

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson


A Reference (One book/article)

A Poster of John S Mackay

Mathematicians born in the same country

Additional Material in MacTutor

  1. Papers in the Proceedings and Notes of the EMS
  2. Obituary: Gazette
  3. Obituary: EMS

Honours awarded to John S Mackay
(Click below for those honoured in this way)
1. Lecturer at the EMS 
2. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh  Elected 1882
3. EMS Founder Member 1883
4. EMS President 1883
5. EMS Honorary Fellow 1894


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JOC/EFR August 2007
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School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland

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