List of University of Edinburgh people

List of University of Edinburgh people

List of University of Edinburgh people is a list of notable graduates and former faculty of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The University is associated with nine Nobel Prize winners (Source:

Politics and government

* Dr Michael Cullen, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and Finance Minister of New Zealand
* Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development
* Michael Ancram, 13th Marquess of Lothian, former Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
* John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley, Governor of Bengal and Chancellor of the Exchequer
* Colin Boyd, Baron Boyd of Duncansby, former Lord Advocate for Scotland
* Robin Cook, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
* Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister
* Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, statesman
* Robert Finlay, 1st Viscount Finlay, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain
* Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane, British Liberal and Labour politician
* Douglas Henderson, Politician
* Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
* Jennie Lee, Minister for the Arts and founder of the Open University
* James Lindesay-Bethune, 16th Earl of Lindsay, businessman and politician
* Anne McIntosh, Politician
* James Mackay, Baron Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor
* David McLetchie, former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
* Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
* Malcolm Rifkind, former UK Foreign Secretary
* David Steel, former leader of the Liberal Party and first Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
* Jim Wallace, former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Deputy First Minister
* Ike Skelton, U.S. congressman from Missouri
* Mike Synar, U.S. congressman from Oklahoma
* John Witherspoon, signatory, American Declaration of Independence
* Benjamin Rush, signatory, American Declaration of Independence

Heads of state and Heads of government

* Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
* John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
* Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
* Charles Tupper, Prime Minister of Canada
* Julius Nyerere, first President of Tanzania
* Yun Po Sun, President of South Korea
* Hastings Banda, President of Malawi
* William Walker, President of Nicaragua
* Arthur St. Clair, President of the Continental Congress


* Henry Thomas Cockburn, judge
* Sir David Edward, former European Court of First Instance Judge
* Charles Erskine, Scottish judge and professor of Private Law
* Brian Gill, Lord Gill, Scotland's second most senior judge
* Arthur Hamilton, Lord Hamilton, Scotland's most senior judge
* Ronald King Murray, Labour politician and judge



* Thomas Anderson discoverer of pyridine
* John Davy, discover of phosgene
* James Dewar, inventor of the Dewar flask
* Robin Hochstrasser
* James Fraser Stoddart


* Robert Bell (geologist), geologist
* Sir John William Dawson, geologist
* Archibald Geikie, geologist
* James Hector, geologist
* James Hutton, the father of modern geology
* Robert Jameson, naturalist and mineralist
* Matthew Law, geologist
* Sir William Edmond Logan, geologist


* Samson Abramsky FRS, computer scientist
* Christopher Bishop, computer scientist, Assistant Director of Microsoft Research, Cambridge
* Andrew Blake FRS, computer scientist
* Bob Boyer, computer scientist, mathematician, philosopher
* Luca Cardelli FRS, computer scientist, Assistant Director of Microsoft Research, Cambridge
* Ian Clarke, computer scientist
* Andrew Fitzgibbon, computer scientist
* Michael Gordon FRS, computer scientist
* Richard Gregory FRS, cognitive scientist
* Christopher Longuet-Higgins FRS, cognitive scientist
* Geoffrey Hinton FRS, informatician
* Robert Kowalski, logician, computer scientist
* Donald Michie, artificial intelligence pioneer
* Robin Milner FRS, computer scientist, winner of the Turing Award
* J Strother Moore, computer scientist
* Augustus De Morgan, mathematician and logician
* Timothy O'Shea, computer scientist; principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
* Aaron Sloman, philosopher, cognitive scientist
* William Samson, astronomer and computer scientist
* Gordon Plotkin, computer scientist
* Leslie Valiant FRS, informatician and computer scientist
* Lǐ Wèi 李未, mathematician and computer scientist, President of Beihang University

Mathematicians, physicists, engineers

* Sir Michael Atiyah, mathematician, winner of Abel Prize, (Maths' equivalent of the Nobel Prize)
* Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone
* Joseph Black, physicist and chemist
* David Brewster, scientist and inventor
* J. W. S. Cassels, mathematician
* James Alfred Ewing, physicist and engineer
* Klaus Fuchs, physicist
* Peter Higgs, physicist, Emeritus Professor of Physics and father of the Higgs boson
* W. V. D. Hodge, mathematician
* Archie Howie, physicist
* Charles Hutton, mathematician
* Fleeming Jenkin, engineer, inventor of telpherage
* Philip Kelland, mathematician
* Sir John Leslie, mathematician and physicist
* Colin Maclaurin, mathematician
* James Clerk Maxwell, physicist and father of electromagnetics
* John Playfair, mathematician
* John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the automated teller machine (ATM)
* William John Macquorn Rankine, early contributor to the development of thermodynamics
* Peter Guthrie Tait, physicist
* Edmund Whittaker, mathematician
* William Withering, physician
* Eli Ambrose Woods, physicist

Medics and biologists

* John Beddington, population biologist, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser
* Charles Bell, anatomist, surgeon
* Joseph Bell, medicine
* Sophia Jex-Blake, pioneer of medical education for women in Britain
* James Braid, surgeon, hypnotist
* James A.C. Brown, psychiatrist
* Robert Brown, botanist
* Thomas Brown, medicine and philosophy
* Richard A Collins biochemist and author
* Charles Darwin, naturalist, author of "The Origin of Species"
* John Elliotson physician, mesmerist
* James Esdaile, surgeon, mesmerist
* John Haldane, physiologist
* Richard Henderson (molecular biologist), biologist
* James Africanus Beale Horton, medicine
* George Kelly, psychologist
* Joseph Lister, introduced antiseptics into surgery
* John Claudius Loudon, botanist
* Aubrey Manning, zoologist
* The three Alexander Monros, anatomists
* Richard Owen, biologist and palaeontologist
* Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer, physiologist and neuroscientist
* Robert Sibbald, Professor of Medicine
* James Young Simpson, pioneered the use of chloroform in midwifery
* Jeremy Smith, Biological Scientist
* John Walker, naturalist
* Ian Wilmut, embryologist and former supervisor of the team that cloned Dolly the Sheep
* Robert Whytt, medicine
* Charles Wyville Thomson, naturalist and chief scientist on the Challenger expedition


* Anneila Sargent, astronomer
* Alan M. Leslie, psychologist
* Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, former president of Malaysian Chinese Association
* David MacRitchie, archaeologist
* Roger Mercer, archaeologist
* Charles Piazzi Smyth, astronomer
* Robert Young, Civil Engineer

Nobel Laureates

* Edward Victor Appleton, Nobel laureate in Physics
* Charles Glover Barkla, Nobel laureate in Physics
* Max Born, Nobel laureate in Physics
* Peter Doherty, Nobel laureate in Medicine
* James Mirrlees, Nobel laureate in Economics
* Peter D. Mitchell,Nobel laureate in Chemistry
* Igor Tamm, Nobel laureate in Physics



* Robert Adam, architect
* A. R. Hye, architect
* Robert Lorimer, architect
* Robert Matthew, architect
* Richard Murphy, architect


* J. M. Barrie, "Peter Pan" author
* James Boswell, lawyer, author and biographer of Samuel Johnson
* Thomas Carlyle, essayist and historian
* George Chalmers, antiquarian and political writer
* Bruce Chatwin, author
* Richard A Collins, author and scientist
* E. S. Dallas, author and journalist
* David Daiches, literary historian and critic
* Thomas Dick, writer
* Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "Sherlock Holmes" author
* Robert Garioch, poet and translator
* Oliver Goldsmith, writer and physician
* Michael Grant, writer and historian
* Ku Hung-ming, writer and polyglot
* James MacMillan, classical composer
* Sorley MacLean (Somhairle MacGill-Eain), Gaelic poet
* Joel McIver, author
* Kole Omotosho, writer
* Neil Paterson, footballer, author and screenwriter
* John William Polidori, writer and physician
* Ian Rankin, author
* Peter Roget, author of the first Thesaurus
* Sir Walter Scott, author and poet
* Alexander McCall Smith, author and professor of medical law
* Robert Louis Stevenson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" author
* Maoilios Caimbeul, Gaelic poet

Media and the Arts

* Maria Bamford, comedian
* Mitch Benn, comedian, songwriter and broadcaster
* Elizabeth Blackadder, artist
* Tom Chaplin, musician and singer in the English piano rock band Keane
* Robbie Coltrane, actor
* Darius Danesh, musician and singer
* Daisy Donovan, actor and broadcaster
* Jimmy Finlayson, actor and comedian
* Jay Jopling, art dealer
* Laura Kuenssberg, BBC politics reporter
* Allan Little, BBC Foreign Correspondent
* Sally Magnusson, BBC journalist
* Gillian McKeith, television presenter and writer
* Anthony d'Offay, art dealer
* Alastair Sim, actor
* Rachael Stirling, actress
* Kerry Stewart, artist
* Elize du Toit, actress
* Kirsty Wark, broadcaster

Historians, philosophers and theologians

* John Baillie, theologian
* Thomas Brown, medicine and philosophy
* James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, naturalist, philosopher, linguist
* Adam Ferguson, philosopher and historian
* David Hume, philosopher and historian
* Margaret Iversen, art historian
* Michael Ingham, anglican bishop and author
* Arthur Marwick, historian
* K. David, New Testament scholar, Theologian from the Canadian Baptist Mission
* James Mill, historian and utilitarianist philosopher
* Keith Moxey, art historian
* Dr. John Munro, theologian
* Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, current Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh
* George Newlands, theologian
* David George Ritchie, philosopher
* Adam Smith, political economist and philosopher
* Dugald Stewart, philosopher
* Iain Torrance, theologian and President of Princeton Theological Seminary
* Ligon Duncan, theologian
* Ibn Warraq, historian and critic of Islam


* James Blair (Virginia), clergyman, founder of the College of William and Mary
* Andrew McPherson, legal commentator
* A.S. Neill, educationalist

Business and economics

* John Allan, CFO of Deutsche Post AG
* Edwin Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation
* Donald Brydon, Chairman of Smiths Group and the London Metal Exchange
* Crawford W. Beveridge, Executive Vice President Sun Microsystems
* Mike Ramsay, co-founder and Chairman of TiVo
* John Kay (economist), economist
* John Ritchie Findlay, owner of "The Scotsman" newspaper
* Tony Hayward, CEO of BP
* Jack Waters, Vice-President Pfizer Inc.
* Ian Godden, CEO of Society of British Aircraft Constructors(SBAC)
* John Boyd Dunlop, founder of Dunlop Rubber
* Peter J. Robertson, vice chairman of the board of directors for Chevron Corporation
* John Rae (economist), economist
* Chris Montgomery, former-CEO of Europe
* Sir Brian Stewart, Chairman of Standard Life and Scottish & Newcastle
* Sir David Tweedie, Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
* Lord Swann, Chairman BBC
* David E.I. Pyott, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Allergan
* Hugh Grant, Chairman, President & CEO of Monsanto Company
* John Grahl, economist
* Henning Schulte-Noelle, Chairman of the Board Allianz SE
* Prafulla Chandra Roy, distinguished chemist and founder of India's first pharmaceutical company


* Leslie Balfour-Melville, outstanding all-round sportsman
* Zbigniew Czajkowski, fencing master, "Father of the Polish School" of fencing
* Peter Heatly, diver and former Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation
* Chris Hoy, Olympic track cyclist gold medallist
* Andy Irvine (rugby player), rugby player and president of the Scottish Rugby Union
* Eric Liddell, athlete men's 400 metres gold medallist
* Shirley McIntosh, Commonwealth rifle shooting gold medallist
* Susan Jackson, Commonwealth rifle shooting gold medallist
* Katherine Grainger, Olympic rowing medallist
* Simon Taylor, International and Professional Rugby player
* Alistair Potts, Commonwealth and British World Champion rower
* David Scott, Football Manager


* John Aikin, physician and writer
* James Blair (clergyman) — founder of the College of William & Mary
* John Brown, physician and author
* Benjamin Constant, writer and politician
* Robert Felkin, medical missionary; ceremonial magician, member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; author on Africa; explorer and anthropologist.
* William Jardine (surgeon), merchant and surgeon
* Reginald Johnston, diplomat and pedagogue of Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China
* Duncan MacLaren, secretary General of Caritas Internationalis
* James Matheson, businessman and MP for the Ross and Cromarty constituency
* Mark O'Neil, former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
* Lord Playfair, scientist and parliamentarian
* Stella Rimington, former head of MI5
* Christopher Lovelock, Professor of Marketing at Yale School of Management
* Piers Sellers, astronaut
* Samuel Smiles, author and reformer
* Archibald Cameron of Locheil, jacobite

University Officials

* Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, The Chancellor of the University (1953-present)
* Sir Alexander Fleming, Former Rector of the University (1951-1953)
* The Rt Hon Sir Winston Churchill, Former Rector of the University (1929-1932)
* The Rt Hon David Lloyd George, Former Rector of the University (1920-1923)

List of University of Edinburgh people
*List of Professorships at the University of EdinburghSamson Abramsky,Adam Jack Aitken,H. Stanley Allen,Marcella Althaus-Reid,Michael Angold,Richard J. C. Atkinson,
Ruth Aylett,John Baillie (theologian),Charles Glover Barkla,James Barr (biblical scholar),G. W. S. Barrow,Alexander Melville Bell,Joseph Bell,Christopher Bishop,Robert Black (lawyer),John Stuart Blackie,Andrew Blake (scientist),Steve Boardman,Gordon Brown,Peter Hume Brown,Alan Bundy,Rod Burstall,Peter Ritchie Calder,Anthony Cohen,Hilary Corke,Roger Cowley,Charles Galton Darwin,Tom Devine,Ellen Dissanayake,Bruce Durie,William Edge,John Erickson (historian),Charles Erskine (Lord Tinwald),James Cossar Ewart,Norman Feather,Adam Ferguson,William Fergusson,James David Forbes,Michael Fourman,James Earle Fraser (historian),Brian Gill (Lord Gill),Gerald Gordon,Igor Goryanin,Alexander Gray (poet),William Michael Herbert Greaves,David Gregory (mathematician),James Gregory (astronomer and mathematician),Herbert John Clifford Grierson,Hamish Henderson,Peter Higgs,Jane Hillston,Jeremy Hoad,Arthur Holmes,Fleeming Jenkin,A. Berridale Keith,Alexander Dunlop Lindsay (1st Baron Lindsay of Birker),Joseph Lister (1st Baron Lister),Robert Liston,Richard Lodge,H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins,David Low,Hector MacQueen,Allan Macartney,Neil MacCormick,John Muirhead MacfarlaneWilliam MacGillivrayGerry MaherAubrey ManningRobert MatthewAlexander McCall SmithDonald MichieRobin MilnerPeter D. MitchellAlexander Monro (tertius)Johanna MooreJohn Muir (indologist)Alexander Monro (primus)Alexander Monro (secundus)John Munro (surgeon)Donald NichollJon OberlanderJohn PlayfairGordon PlotkinNorman Walker PorteousJohn PringleIan RankinDavid William RhindDavid George RitchieDouglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll RobertsonWilliam Robertson (historian)John Robison (physicist)John Scott RussellRalph Allen SampsonJohn SavillSteven ShapinRichard SillittoJames Young SimpsonAdam SmithThomas Smith (British lawyer)Charles Piazzi SmythAnthony SnodgrassTimothy SpriggeMark SteedmanJohn Sutherland (author)James SymeDavid Talbot RiceAustin TateThomas TorranceConrad Hal WaddingtonJohn Walker (naturalist)David WelshHarrison WhiteAlexander WhyteTimothy WilliamsonIan WilmutGeorge Wilson (chemist)John Wilson (Scottish writer)Charles W. J. WithersHarvey Wood (arts figure)Charles Wyville Thomson

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