Charles Wyville Thompson

Charles Wyville Thompson

Charles Wyville Thompson

Birth : (1830-03-05)5 March 1830 Linlithgow,West Lothian

Death : 10 March 1882(1882-03-10)(aged 52) Linlithgow

Personal Information

Name Charles Wyville Thompson
Birth (1830-03-05)5 March 1830 Linlithgow,West Lothian
Birth Place Linlithgow,West Lothian
Death (1882-03-10)(aged 52) Linlithgow
Died At Linlithgow
Nationality Scottish
Alma Mater Merchiston Castle School University of Edinburgh
Fields Marine zoology
Institution University of Aberdeen(1850–1851)
Marischal College(1851–52)
Queen's College, Cork Queen's University of Belfast)
Famous Research Challenger expedition

Word Cloud

Events Occured in Scienctist Life


Thomson was born at Bonsyde, in Linlithgow, West Lothian, on 5 March 1830, the son of Andrew Thomson, a surgeon in the service of the East India Company, and his wife Sarah Ann Drummond Smith.


He was baptised Wyville Thomas Charles Thomson, and changed his name in 1876.He was educated under Charles Chalmers at Merchiston Castle School, then from 1845 studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh graduating with an MD.


However, his focus turned from medicine to natural science, and he joined the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in 1847, and soon after became secretary to the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.


In 1850 he was attending the botany class of John Hutton Balfour at the University.


In 1850 he was appointed lecturer of botany, and in 1851 professor of botany, at the University of Aberdeen.


In 1853 he became a professor of natural history in Queen's College, Cork, Ireland, succeeding Professor Hincks.


In 1855 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, his proposer being his former tutor, John Hutton Balfour.


He served as the Society's Vice President from 1877 to 1882.


In 1868 he assumed the duties of professor of botany at the Royal College of Science, Dublin, and finally in 1870 he received the natural history chair at the University of Edinburgh.


Being interested in crinoids, and prompted by the results of the dredgings of Michael Sars in the deep sea off the Norwegian coasts, he persuaded the Royal Navy to grant him use of HMS Lightning and HMS Porcupine for deep sea dredging expeditions in the summers of 1868 and 1869.


These results were described in The Depths of the Sea, which he published in 1873.


Wyville Thomson was selected as chief scientist, and the ship sailed on 23 December 1872.


In 1873 he published "Depths of the Sea" based on initial findings from the expedition.


In 1880 he published two volumes (


In 1879 he ceased to perform his university duties, gave up overseeing the reports of the expedition in 1881, took to his bed and died a broken man at Bonsyde on 10 March 1882.


In 1853 he married Jane Ramage Dawson.