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Peter Guthrie Tait


1831 - 1901

Professor Peter Tait
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Professor Peter Tait

Physicist. Born in Dalkeith. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy with James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), who became a life-long friend. Tait was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh (1860), a position for which Maxwell had been a candidate. With William Thomson (1824 - 1907), Tait wrote the important Treatise on Natural Philosophy, published in 1867. Jointly with Balfour Stewart, he wrote The Unseen Universe (1867) which was in such demand that they followed it with a sequel Paradoxical Philosophy (1878). Tait also wrote a classic paper on the trajectory of golf balls, his son Freddie Tait (1870 - 1900) having been a champion golfer.

He died in Edinburgh. The Tait Professorship of Mathematical Physics remains an established Chair within the University of Edinburgh.


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