Physician and botanist, Daniel Rutherford was born in Edinburgh on 3 November 1749. He was the son of Professor John Rutherford (1695-1779). He was educated first at home and then in England, and then studied at Edinburgh University. He graduated with the degree of M.A. then began a course of medical study under William Cullen (1710-1790) and Joseph Black (1728-1799), obtaining his M.D. in 1772 through a dissertation entitled De aere fixo dicto aut Mephitico. This work established a distinction between carbonic acid gas and nitrogen, and paralleled the work being done at the same time by Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). On the publication of his paper and on the completion of his university study, Rutherford travelled in England, France and Italy, and then in 1775 returned to Edinburgh where he began to practise. He became a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1776, and a Fellow in 1777, and was President between 1796 and 1798. Previously, in 1786, He succeeded Dr. John Hope as Professor of Botany at Edinburgh University, and Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden in the city (then sited at the top of Leith Walk). Rutherford had also been nominated a member of the Faculty of Medicine and had connections with the Royal Infirmary as a Clinical Professor. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and also of the Linnean Society. In addition to De aere fixo dicto aut Mephitico (1772), he published a paper containing A description of an improved thermometer in Volume 3 of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Characteres generum plantarum ex systemate vegetabilium Linnaei et Horto Kewensi praecipue excerpti (1793). Professor Daniel Rutherford died on 15 November 1819. He was a maternal uncle of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).