Colin MacLaurin, Scottish mathematician and physicist, c 1740s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Samuel Freeman after a model by Percey. Colin MacLaurin (1698-1746) was one of the greatest British mathematicians of the 18th century. From the age of 11 he attended Glasgow University, graduating at just 14 years of age. He went on to became a profesor of mathematics at the universities of Aberdeen (1715-26) and Edinburgh (1725-45), and played an important role in organising Edinburgh's defences during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1719.