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Scots and 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 was 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.


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