Professors of Natural Philosophy at the Universities of Aberdeen *

King's College Regents

Men of learning were expected to be knowledgeable on a wide range of topics from the classics, scriptures and foreign languages to Aristotelean philosophy, and law. After the foundation, one teacher, or 'Regent', took a given class right through all four years of learning. This practice was continued for years 2 to 4 right up to the end of the Regent scheme in 1800, as indicated by a list of Regents from 1601 to 1800 Officers and Graduates of University & King's College Aberdeen MVD - MDCCCLX ed. Peter John Anderson, New Spalding Club, Aberdeen 1893, Appendix I. One can see in this list who took the Natural Philosophy class in each year, though they weren't designated as 'professor of natural philosophy' but simply as Regent. There was a move to abandon the Regent scheme in the 1730s but it fell through. There were some very able scholars among the Regents but the scheme persisted long after it should have been abandoned.

Natural Philosophy was the main subject studied by 3rd year students at King's College. The minor subjects in that year were Criticism and Belles Lettres, and Mathematics. This arrangement persisted after the Regent scheme was dropped.

Hector Boece

Hector Boece, first Principal of King's College and noted Scottish historian


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John S. Reid

Dec. 2017