William Ritchie ~ Scientist and Mathematician

William Ritchie (c.1790-1837), scientist and mathematician, born at Monzie, educated at Perth Academy and then Edinburgh University (graduated 1811). Ritchie became assistant master at Perth Academy in 1816 and two years later published System of Arithmetic. By 1820, Ritchie was Rector of Tain Royal Academy. In this post, he had time to devote to physics, writing treatise on light and heat. Ritchie sought to develop his knowledge of natural philosophy and took time away from Tain to attend lectures in Paris. After his return, several unsuccessful job applications followed. Nevertheless, Ritchie received a commission to lecture at the Royal Society; he lectured on imponderable substances and mathematics. The lectures’ success saw Ritchie become Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution, which allowed a permanent move to London. During this time, William Ritchie wrote two books and more than forty papers. He collaborated with Michael Faraday, looking into the implications of electromagnetism and undertook research into glass manufacture. Ritchie died of fever in Edinburgh in 1837.