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Hugh Blackburn

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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Hugh Blackburn

Hugh Blackburn (1823-1909) was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Glasgow.

A native of Stirlingshire, Blackburn graduated at Cambridge University where he became friendly with William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin. At Cambridge he invented the pendulum with a double suspension that was later known as the Blackburn pendulum. In 1849 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Glasgow, a post he was to hold for thirty years.

Blackburn wrote a treatise on trigonometry and edited an edition of Newton's Principia in conjunction with Lord Kelvin. He played an important role in the administration of the University and was convener of the Finance Committee for many years. Although popular with his students, he was said to have difficulty in communicating his knowledge to them. Increasing deafness forced him to retire in 1879, following which he lived for a further thirty years in seclusion on his estate of Roshven in Moidart.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 920.04 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Blackburn pendulum, education, mathematics, professors, trigonometry, University of Glasgow

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