Prof. Patrick Copland

1749 - 1822

Academic. Born in the manse at Fintray (Aberdeenshire), the son of Rev. Samuel Copland, he was educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen. Copland became assistant to Professor George Skene (1741 - 1803) in 1774, was appointed to the Chair in Natural Philosophy the following year and took over the Chair of Mathematics from Professor William Traill (1746 - 1831) when he left in Aberdeen in 1779 but returned to the Chair in Natural Philosophy in 1817. Copland was an enthusiastic astronomer and was responsible for building the Castlehill Observatory in Aberdeen. He raised the funds including a considerable donation from John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-92), who was Chancellor of Marischal College at that time.

He was also a well-known teacher, who designed equipment to explain the principles of his subject and popularised mathematics and physics with the general public. Copland was a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. On the death of his former mentor, Skene, Copland bought his home, Fountainhall House in Aberdeen (now 130 Blenheim Place).

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