Sir D'Arcy W. Thompson, C.B., F.R.S.: A Professorial Record


    "You will never live to my age, without you keep yourselves in breath with exercise, and in heart with joyfulness"—and so successfully has Sir D'Arcy Thompson fulfilled the injunction of Sir Philip Sidney that ere Christmas Day he will have completed sixty years as professor of natural history. On December 22, 1884, at the age of twenty-four, he was elected, as its first incumbent, to the chair of natural history in the newly opened University College of Dundee. Here, as at Edinburgh Academy, he was fortunate in his environment of good companions: his unsuccessful competitors for the chair included J. T. Cunningham, W. E. Hoyle and Patrick Geddes; his new colleagues in due course numbered among them as young professors who later gained wide recognition, Sir Patrick Geddes; who had accepted the chair of botany, Sir Alfred Ewing, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, Sir William McCormick, secretary to the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Sir James Walker, professor of chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, and Sir William Peterson, principal of McGill University, Montreal. In 1897, University College, Dundee, which had begun as an independent institution, became an integral part of the University of St. Andrews, and in 1917, on the retiral of Prof. W. C. McIntosh from the chair of natural history in St. Andrews, which he had occupied since 1882, it was a fitting and natural move that D'Arcy Thompson should be transferred to the senior chair. His predecessor retired in his seventy-ninth year; in his eighty-fourth Sir D'Arcy continues to teach with vigour and to take part in many activities outside the University.

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