William Jack (mathematician)

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William Jack c. 1880

William Jack FRSE (29 May 1834 – 20 March 1924) was a Scottish mathematician and journalist. He was Editor of the Glasgow Herald 1870 to 1876. He was Professor of Mathematics at Glasgow University from 1879 until 1909.[1]


He was born on 29 May 1834 in Stewarton in Ayrshire the son of Robert Jack of Irvine. He was educated at Irvine Academy. He then studied Mathematics at Glasgow University graduating MA in 1853 then did further post-graduate study at Cambridge University gaining a second MA in 1859.

From 1860 to 1866 he was HM Inspector of Schools for Scotland. In 1866 he accepted the post of Professor of Natural Philosophy (Physics) at Owens College in Manchester and held this role until 1870 when he moved to Glasgow as Editor of the Glasgow Herald. He left in 1876 to run Macmillan & Co, a London publisher,[2] and in 1879 joined the staff of Glasgow University as Professor of Mathematics. In 1875, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, James Thomson Bottomley, Allen Thomson and Peter Guthrie Tait.[3]

In 1875 Glasgow awarded him an honorary LLD and in 1902 Manchester University awarded him an honorary doctorate (DSc).

In his final working years he lived in campus at Glasgow University, at 10 The College.[4] He died on 20 March 1924.[5]


He was married to Agnes Jane Nichol (1837–1901), daughter of John Pringle Nichol and sister of Professor John Nichol.

Their children included sons William Tullis Jack (b.1862), William Robert Jack (b.1866), Adolphus Alfred Jack (b.1868), and a daughter Agnes Elizabeth Jack (b.1871).[6]


  1. ^ "University of Glasgow :: Story :: Biography of William Jack". Universitystory.gla.ac.uk. 1924-03-23. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  2. ^ "William Jack". Glasgowwestaddress.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  3. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
  4. ^ Glasgow Post Office directory 1905–6
  5. ^ "Professor Jack. Death of distinguished mathematician. Thirty years in Glasgow University". The Glasgow Herald. 21 March 1924. p. 5. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. ^ "William Jack (1834 - 1924) - Genealogy". Geni.com. 1924-03-20. Retrieved 2017-03-12.