William Peddie


Born: 31 May 1861 in Papa Westray, Orkney, Scotland
Died: 2 June 1946 in Ninewells, Dundee, Scotland

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William Peddie's father was John Peddie (born in Methven, Perthshire about 1813) who was the minister of Papa Westray Free Church. His mother was Marion S Beashe (born in Bathgate, Linlithgow about 1831). William Peddie had an older sister Marion (born 1860) and a younger brother David (born 1963).

William Peddie attended Kirkwall Grammar School, Orkney, and then studied at the University of Edinburgh, being awarded a B.Sc. in 1887 and then a D.Sc. in the following year. He was appointed as an Assistant in Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University in 1883 becoming a Lecturer in 1892. He remained in this post until appointed as Professor of Physics at University College, Dundee, in 1907. He held this post until 1942. While in Dundee he oversaw the building of the Carnegie Physics Laboratory - this building still stands in the Geddes Quadrangle on campus. He married Jessie Isabella Dott (born in Edinburgh about 1864) in 1891.

His publications include Manual of Physics (1891), The Elementary Dynamics of Solids and Fluids (1909), Colour Vision (1922), and Molecular Magnetism (1929). He wrote on mathematics and thermodynamics and equipatition of energy. He also carried out experiments on the properties of metals when twisted, colour (a subject on which he became an authority) and also wrote on magnetism.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 7 March 1887 having been proposed by Peter Guthrie Tait, Sir Thomas Muir, George Chrystal, and Alexander Crum Brown. He served the Society as Councillor 1904-7, 1908-11, 1933-6, and as Vice-President 1919-22. He was awarded the Society's Makdougall-Brisbane Prize for 1896-8

Peddie was awarded an honorary LL D from the University of St Andrews.

His obituary in the Edinburgh Mathematical Notes is at THIS LINK

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


A Reference (One book/article)

A Poster of William Peddie

Mathematicians born in the same country

Additional Material in MacTutor

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

Honours awarded to William Peddie
(Click below for those honoured in this way)
1. Lecturer at the EMS 
2. EMS Founder Member 1883
3. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Elected 1887
4. EMS President 1895, 1932


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

The URL of this page is:
http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Peddie.html