Edinburgh Mathematical Society

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The Edinburgh Mathematical Society is a mathematical society for academics in Scotland.


The Society was founded in 1883 by a group of Edinburgh school teachers and academics, on the initiative of Alexander Yule Fraser FRSE and Andrew Jeffrey Gunion Barclay FRSE,[1] both maths teachers at George Watson's College, and Cargill Gilston Knott, the assistant of Peter Guthrie Tait, professor of physics at the University of Edinburgh.[2] The first president, elected at first meeting on 2 February 1883, was J.S. Mackay, the head mathematics master at the Edinburgh Academy.[2]

The Society was founded at a time when mathematics societies were being created around the world, but it was unusual in being founded by school teachers rather than university lecturers.[2] This was because, due to the very small number of mathematical academic positions in Scotland at the time, many skilled mathematics graduates chose to become schoolteachers instead.[3] The fifty five founding members contained teachers, ministers and students, as well as a number of academics from the University of Cambridge.[4] The proportion of teachers remained high compared to other mathematical societies, and by 1926 university members made up only one-third of the total members.[5] However, the dominance of teachers in the numbers of the society declined towards the 1930s, and between 1930 and 1935 no papers were presented in the Proceedings by teachers.[3] This was due to an increase in the number of academic positions available and the new requirement for teachers to undergo an additional year of vocational training.[3]

The Edinburgh Mathematical Society is now mainly for academics.[3]


The Society organises and funds meetings and other research events throughout Scotland. There are normally eight meetings a year, at which talks are presented by mathematicians.[6]

Every four years it awards the Sir Edmund Whittaker Memorial Prize to an outstanding mathematician with a Scottish connection.[7] The Society is a corporate member of the European Mathematical Society,[8] and in 2008 it became a member of the Council for the Mathematical Sciences.[6]


The publishes an academic journal, the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, published by Cambridge University Press (ISSN 0013-0915.)[9] The Proceedings were first published in 1884, and is issued three times a year. It covering a range of pure and applied mathematics.[6]

Between 1909 and 1961, the Society also published the Edinburgh Mathematical Notes, on the suggestion of George Alexander Gibson, a professor at the University of Glasgow, who wished to remove the more elementary or pedagogical articles from the Proceedings.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Edinburgh Mathematical Society". mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Marit Hartveit (December 2009). "Death of a Schoolmaster" (PDF). EMS Newsletter: 27–30. 
  4. ^ "Founder Members of Edinburgh Mathematical Society". mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Flood, Raymond; Rice, Adrian; Wilson, Robin (29 September 2011). Mathematics in Victorian Britain. Oxford University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-19-162794-1. 
  6. ^ a b c "About the Edinburgh Mathematical Society". ems.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Whittaker Prize". ems.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Member Societies". euro-math-soc.eu. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society". journals.cambridge.org. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Edinburgh Mathematical Notes". mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Official website