Engineering Hall of Fame at Glasgow University

Being the 4th oldest university in the English-speaking world, Glasgow University has a strong heritage of pioneering engineers and world changers.

Engineering at Glasgow has a long and proud history going back several centuries. Notable landmarks include:

  • Appointing the first Professor of Engineering in the UK in 1840.
  • Hosting the first Chair of Naval Architecture in 1880, John Elder – ship building being a major industry in Glasgow.
  • The first Engineering degree programme in the UK which started in 1872.
  • The first Faculty of Engineering in the UK founded in 1923.

Below are some of the key figures that Glasgow University has hosted, whom have made significant contributions to Engineering.

William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)

Lord Kelvin was a giant in the world of science, and his achievements make him one of Glasgow’s most famous citizens. Although born in Belfast in 1824, he came to Glasgow at a very young age and made the city his life-long home.

‘Lord Kelvin’ was the title William Thomson took when he was made the first ‘science lord’. He taught at the University of Glasgow for fifty-three years and became its Chancellor.

He did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. He almost invented the modern research degree. A great theorist he was also a very practical man; the death of his nephew at sea led to a lifelong fascination with safety at sea; his compass was adopted by most of the world’s navies; his tide gauge was so good it remained unsurpassed for many years. He solved the problems involved in laying the first transatlantic telegraph cables and conveying messages, thus paving the way for the global communications highway.