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British Industrial History

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James Thomson (1786-1849)

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James Thomson (1786-1849)

'For many years lecturer on, and afterwards professor of, mathematics in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, but subsequently became professor of mathematics in Glasgow University. He was a highly successful teacher and original investigator in mathematics, and was the author of many important school books. There are not a few persons living who remember well the spirited mathematical classes of those days'[1]

1822 Birth of son James Thomson

1824 Birth of son William Thomson - later Lord Kelvin


1849 Obituary.[2]

It with the most unfeigned sorrow write these words, recording the removal from this world of one its brightest ornaments, and one of the most upright and honorable men, Dr. Thompson, it appears, died from that fearful disease, cholera, which has swept from Glasgow some very eminent and excellent of its society.

Born at Ballinahinch, and, we believe, educated there, under the late Rev. Dr. Edgar, father of the present Divinity Professor in our College, the north was proud of his name, and delighted to note the fame which it won from all quarters.

At an early period of life he was appointed to fill the chair of mathematics in the Academical Institution of this town. That institution, then its infancy, needed such men as was to make a place for it amongst the halls of learning. How admirably and efficiently Professor Thompson discharged the duties which fell to his lot, thousands of living witnesses can now sorrowfully testify. A model of punctuality and strict attention to the business of his classes, he commanded, by the force of example, habits, their part, of order and regularity, and patient acquiescence. He was, in himself, a fountain of scientific and varied knowledge; and no one who sat by him for instruction, can ever forget how clear the stream was of bis vigorous and successful teaching.

After many years of untiring labour in our college, he was singled out for the chair of Mathematics the University of Glasgow. Belfast - Ulster large, deplored his departure, yet rejoiced in the tribute paid his worth and excellence. In that Univereity he maintained the high character which he had honorably won and uniformly borne here. He was gratified, besides, with the sight of his own son, a brother professor in the same University, called, in his youth, from his distinguished merit, to occupy the chair of Natural Philosophy.

Doctor Thompson's reputation was not only European, but was over the whole world. His many works rendered him celebrated everywhere.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [The Engineer 1892/05/13]
  2. The Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal - Saturday 20 January 1849