Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, LL.D., Sc.D.
THE Maclaurins were distinguished in
the Middle Ages by their military exploits, but the family was ultimately
overcome by more powerful foes and henceforth devoted itself mainly to
intellectual pursuits. In modern times the most famous of its members were
John Maclaurin, one of the leading divines of the eighteenth century,
Colin Maclaurin, the friend of Newton and the most famous of Scottish
mathematicians, and his nephew, known in the annals of the law of Scotland
as Lord Dreghorn.
Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, a direct
descendant of Colin Maclaurin, was born June 5, 1870, in Lindean,
Scotland, the son of Robert Campbell and Martha Joan (Spence) Maclaurin.
At an early age he removed with his parents to New Zealand and received
his preparatory education in the Auckland Grammar School. He was graduated
from Cambridge University, England, with the degree of M.A., in 1897, and
Smithís prize man in mathematics, 1897, and Yorke prize
man in law, 1898, in the University. He was elected a fellow of St. Johnís
College, Cambridge, in 1897, and became a member of the Honorable Society
of Lincolnís Inn.
In 1898, he returned to New Zealand,
where, as Professor of Mathematics, 1898-1905, and Dean of the Faculty of
Law, 1905-1907, in the University of New Zealand, and fellow of the
University, 1899-1907, he remained until the latter year, when he was
elected Professor of Mathematical Physics in Columbia University, New York
City. He has been President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology since
1909. Under his successful administration the Institute has enjoyed a
period of splendid prosperity, receiving many large gifts and erecting
many new buildings. To fine scholarship he has brought an added gift of
leadership, the ability to win the love and respect of all within and
without the Institute.
Dr. Maclaurin was honoured with the
degree of LL.D. by Cambridge, England, 1904, by Wesleyan University,
Conn., 1909, by Harvard University, 1910, and by Denison University, Ohio,
1914, with the degree of Sc.D by Cambridge, 1908, and by Dartmouth, 1909.
He is a member of the London Mathematical Society, the American
Mathematical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and many other
learned societies and associations, and of the University, St. Botoiph,
Tavern, Commercial, Engineers and Union clubs, Boston. He is author of
Title to Realty, 1900 ;The Theory of Light, 1909; Lectures
on Light, 1909; and of many scientific articles published by the Royal
Society of London, the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the
Philosophical Magazine, La Revue Scientifique, etc.
Dr. Maclaurin married, December 27,
1904, Alice Young, daughter of William and Jeanie C. Young, of Auckland,
New Zealand. They have two sons; William Rupert, born July 25, 1907, and
Richard Colin, born December 26, 1914. He is affiliated with the Old South
Church, Boston. Dr. Maclaurinís chief recreations are travelling and
fishing. His home address is 187 Bay State Road, Boston, Mass.