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Prof Magnus Maclean FRSE MIEE MICE LLD(1857-1937) was an electrical engineer who assisted Lord Kelvin in his electrical experiments and later became Professor of Electrical Engineering in Glasgow (one of the first to hold such a title). He also lectured in Celtic Studies at Glasgow University. The Magnus Maclean Memorial Prize given to students of electrical engineering is named in his honour.


He was born on the isle of Skye on 1 November 1857. He was educated at Colbost on the island then sent to Glasgow for secondary education. He then began training as a Free Church minister at the Free Church Training College in Glasgow and also studied at Glasgow University. However, her abandoned this after two years and became a teacher in Sutherland.

Re-entering Glasgow University in 1881 with a Lorimer bursary for Mathematics, and a London Highland Society scholarship. He studied Natural Philosophy (Physics) and Mathematics at Glasgow University graduating MA around 1883.[1]

From at least 1880 he was the personal assistant to William Thomson, Lord Kelvin in his electrical experiments. In 1888 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, William Jack, Thomas Muir, and Thomas Gray. [2]

In 1899 he became Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow.[3] Glasgow University gave him an honorary doctorate (LLD) in 1919.

In later life he lived at 51 Kersland Terrace in Glasgow.[4]

He retired in 1924 and died on 2 September 1937.[5]

Artistic RecognitionEdit

His painting by James Raeburn Middleton is held by Strathclyde University.[6]


  • The Literature of the Highlands
  • The Literature of the Celts (1902)


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  2. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
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  4. ^ Glasgow Post Office directory 1911-12
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