Obituary | Published:

Prof. William Peddie

Nature volume 158, pages 5051 (13 July 1946) | Download Citation



PROF. WILLIAM PEDDIE, who died at his home in Dundee on June 2, was born in Papa Westray, one of the most northerly islands in Orkney, in 1861. He was a son of the manse, his father being a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. He was educated at Kirkwall Grammar School, learning to be a sailor as well as a mathematician-a friend speaks of being compelled to admiration by his superb handling of their craft in a nasty bit of sea. In 1880 he entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied natural philosophy under P. G. Tait and mathematics under George Chrystal. In 1883 he was appointed University assistant in natural philosophy and formed a close association with Tait, in whose physical laboratory he worked. In an article on Tait and his work written many years later, Peddie records the intense admiration felt for the great master by all his students : “From the record of his life and work, men who never knew him may come under the magic spell and be enrolled in the list of his disciples”. Tait had early expressed the hope that the large subject of natural philosophy would before long be represented by two chairs. The first step was taken in 1892, when C. G. Knott was appointed lecturer in applied mathematics and W. Peddie lecturer in natural philosophy.

About this article

Publication history




  1. Search for H. S. ALLEN in:


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing