Week 20 - staff of Natural Philosophy Department, Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, c. 1902
[Archives reference: OP 4/96/1]
This photograph, taken in the old Andersonian building, shows the Natural Philosophy laboratory of Professor James Blyth (Professor of Natural Philosophy 1880-1906). From left to right, the staff are Andrew Scobbie (mechanic); A. MacDonald; James Blyth; Dr James Muir (later Professor, 1906-1938, historian of the College and biographer of John Anderson); and Vincent J. Blyth (the Professor’s son who later went into industry).
The teaching of Natural Philosophy originated in 1796 at Anderson’s Institution with the appointment of the first Professor of Natural Philosophy, Thomas Garnett. It was not until later, however, that a department formally came into existence. From at least 1899, there are references to the Department of Natural Philosophy.
James Blyth was appointed Chair of Natural Philosophy in 1880, a position he kept until his death in 1906. Blyth contributed to the popular evening classes in natural philosophy as well as offering day classes. A wide range of subjects were covered in both the day and evening classes including: theoretical mechanics, acoustics, heat and optics and electricity and magnetism. Classes also included practical laboratory demonstrations.
Blyth would probably not recognise the department today due to the many changes which have occurred. In 1968 the department split into the Department of Natural Philosophy (in 1983 renamed the Department of Physics) and the Department of Applied Physics. The two were reunited as the Department of Physics and Applied Physics in 1986. In 2002 the department was renamed the Department of Physics.