Famous alumni

Our former students have been at the forefront of knowledge since the founding of the University in 1583.

Distinguished former students

Some of our distinguished former students include:

  • Charles Darwin - naturalist and author of “The Origin of Species”
  • David Hume - philosopher and leading figure of the Enlightenment
  • James Clerk Maxwell - physicist
  • James Simpson - pioneer of chloroform in midwifery and surgery

More recent well-known alumni include:

  • Dr Piers Sellers - third Briton to go into space in 2002
  • Stella Rimington - former MI5 director
  • Gordon Brown - UK Prime Minister
Dr Piers Sellers in a spacesuit

Alumnus of the year

Recent recipients of our alumnus of the year award have included novelist Ian Rankin, Olympic medallists Chris Hoy and Katherine Grainger, and author Alexander McCall Smith.

Photo copyright NASA.


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