Professors of Natural Philosophy at the Universities of Aberdeen *

William Paul  1st Jan 1771 - 3rd March 1834

William Paul was an Aberdonian and graduate of King's College in 1788. He had taken the Greek class on account of the illness and subsequent death of Thomas Gordon in 1796 - 97 and the Natural Philosophy class of William Duncan from 1800 - 1802. He was at the time 'Minister of the gospel' for Maryculter. Paul was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy when Duncan translated to Mathematics in 1811. Paul died in 1834.

His course appears fairly theoretical compared with Copland's parallel class at Marischal College. A contemporary description William Kennedy, 'Annals of Aberdeen', London 1818, vol II, p 387 of Paul's class in 1818 records that "one hour a day is employed in teaching those branches of mathematics which could not be included in the course of the preceding session, but which are absolutely necessary in conducting the study of natural philosophy, viz. conic sections, fluxions [calculus], and spherical trigonometry, with its application to the solution of problems in dialling [sundials], geography, and astronomy. Another hour is daily employed on prelecting on the various branches of natural philosophy, comprehending dynamics, mechanics, hydrostatics, galvanism, and magnetism. The remaining hour is occupied in examining the class on the subject of the preceding lecture, and in prescribing exercises in mathematics or natural philosophy, to be performed against the subsequent day. All the subjects above-mentioned are explained and illustrated, either by means of extensive philosophical apparatus [demonstrations], or by the aid of mathematical demonstration. During the meetings on Sunday morning, a course of lectures is read on the evidence of natural and revealed religion."

Paul grave Paul's memorial stone above his grave on a wall in St Machar's churchyard, badly weathered and covered with lichen. The inscription begins THE REVEREND WILLIAM PAUL/ PROFESSOR OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY/ KINGS COLLEGE OLD ABERDEEN/ DIED 3RD MARCH 1834/ and there follows at least 5 names of family.


Page by

John S. Reid

Dec. 2017