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Andrew Gray (physicist)

Andrew Gray
Born 2 July 1847
Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland
Died 10 October 1925
Residence Scotland, Wales
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality Scottish
Fields Physics
Institutions Private Secretary to Sir William Thomson, Glasgow (1875–80)
Secretary to Sir William Thomson, Glasgow University (1880–4)
Professor of Physics, University College, Bangor, Wales (1884–99)
Professor of Natural Philosophy, Glasgow University (1899–1924)
Alma mater Glasgow University (MA 1876, DSc, LLD(Hon) 1896)
Known for "Absolute Measurements in Electricity and Magnetism" (1883)
"Treatise on Bessel Functions" (1895)
"The Scientific Work of Lord Kelvin"
Spouse Annie Gordon
Father of the mathematician and physicist James Gordon Gray (1876–1934)

Andrew Gray FRS FRSE (2 July 1847 – 10 October 1925) was a Scottish physicist and mathematician.

Born in Lochgelly, Fife, the son of John Gray, he was educated at Lochgelly School and studied at the University of Glasgow (MA 1876), where he was appointed the Eglinton Fellow in Mathematics in 1876. Perhaps more significantly, however, in 1875 he became the assistant and private secretary of Professor William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin). He held this post – an official University one after 1880 – until 1884, when he was appointed Professor of Physics at the newly founded University College of North Wales.[1]

In June 1896 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society [2]

He remained in Bangor until 1899, when he returned to Glasgow to become the Professor of Natural Philosophy, succeeding Kelvin on his retirement. He held this chair for twenty-four years, stepping down in 1923, shortly before his death.


His major scientific publications included works on electromagnetism,[3] dynamics[4] and Bessel functions.[5] He also wrote a treatise on gyrostats.[6]

His FRS candidacy form itemised the following:

  • 'Absolute Measurements in Electricity and Magnetism' (1889)
  • 'Theory and Practice of Absolute Measurements in Electricity Magnetism' (vol i, 1888; vol ii, in two parts, 1893)
  • 'A Treatise on Magnetism and Electricity'
  • 'On the Determination in Absolute Units of the Intensity of Powerful Magnetic Fields' (Phil Mag, 1883)
  • 'On the Dynamical Theory of Electro-magnetic Action' (ibid, 1890)
  • 'On the Calculation of the Induction Coefficients of Coils' (ibid, 1892)
  • 'On a New Reflecting Galvanometer of great sensibility, and on New Forms of Astatic Galvanometers,' jointly with T Gray (Proc Roy Soc, 1884)
  • 'On the Relation between the Electrical Qualities and the Chemical Composition of Glass and Allied Substances,' Part I, jointly with T Gray and J J Dobbie (Proc Roy Soc, 1884)
  • 'On the Electro-magnetic Theory of the Rotation of the Plane of Polarized Light' (Rept Brit Assoc, 1891).


  1. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002: Biographical Index I. Edinburgh:  
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Andrew Gray, Absolute Measurements in Electricity and Magnetism, MacMillan and Co., London (1884) [very much enlarged edition in two volumes, 1888–93, 2nd expanded edition 1921].
  4. ^  
  5. ^  
  6. ^ A. Gray, 1959: A Treatise on Gyrostatics and Rotational Motion: Theory and Applications (Dover, New York). Originally published in 1918 by Glasgow University Press.
  • GRAY, Andrew (b. Scotland, 1847 – d. 10 October 1925). (2005). In Who Was Who 1897–2005.

External links

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