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Material relating to Professor George Chrystal

Identifier: Coll-1491

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of:

1 x letter from Professor George Chrystal to the Rt. Hon. The Prime Minister [Herbert Henry Asquith, 1908-1916] from 5 Belgrave Crescent, Edinburgh, 12 June 1911. The letter, in effect turns down the honour of a knighthood 'on the occasion of His Majesty's approaching Coronation'. He was, in the first place, 'at this moment suffering from the effects of severe illness' and it would be several months before he could 'appear in London or take part in any public ceremonial', and in the second place, as a 60-year old widower with a family 'the greater part of which is still dependent' on him, he was 'therefore in no condition to support the social distinction of knighthood'.

9 x photographs of Chrystal and members of his family, being:

  1. 1 x photograph of William Chrystal, Professor Chrystal's father
  2. 1 x portrait photograph, mounted on card, of the wife of Professor Chrystal
  3. 1 x photograph of Professor George Chrystal, Mrs. Chrystal, and Miss Gibbs, governess, at Parish Church Manse, Fossoway, 1892
  4. 2 x small photographs of the wife of Professor Chrystal, 1897 and undated
  5. 1 x small photograph of the young Sir George Chrystal with his mother, 1897
  6. 1 x small photograph of Professor George Chrystal fishing on the River Don, Aberdeenshire, Spring 1908
  7. 2 x portrait photographs of Sir George Chrystal

Reprints of: Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Session 1911-1912. Vol.XXXII. Part V and its content 'Obituary notice: Professor George Chrystal, MA., LLD., by Dr. J. Sutherland Black and Professor C. G. Knott; and, Report on the Scientific Results of the Bathymetrical Survey of the Scottish Fresh-water Lochs, Challenger Office, Edinburgh, 1910, and its 'Seiches and other oscillations of lake-surfaces, observed by the Scottish Lake Survey', by Professor George Chrystal.


  • Creation: 1890-1911


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Scottish physicist and mathematician George Chrystal was born at the Mill of Kingoodie, near Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, on 8 March 1851, He was the son of William Chrystal of Gateside. His mother was Margaret Burr, a daughter of James Burr of Mains of Glaik, Aberdeenshire.

He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and the University of Aberdeen. In 1872 he moved in order to study under James Clerk Maxwell at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he graduated Second wrangler (second highest scoring student) in 1875, joint with William Burnside (1852-1927), and was elected a fellow of Corpus Christi. He was appointed to the Regius Chair of Mathematics at University of St. Andrews in 1877, and then in 1879 to the Chair in Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. In 1911, he was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society for his researches into the surface oscillations of Scottish lakes. He was a contributor to the drafting of the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889 and one of the founders of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. Professor George Chrystal died on 3 November 1911.

The civil servant Sir George William Chrystal KCB (1880–1944) was Chrystal's son. Professor Chrystal was the grandfather of George A. M. Chrystal of Christchurch, New Zealand.


1 folder

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired September 2013. Accession no: E2013.61.

Related Materials

Also within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, are other Chrystal related items at Coll-172.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 28 October 2013

Material relating to George Chrystal (1851-1911), Professor of Mathematics
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379