University Of Edinburgh Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of University Of Edinburgh. The list includes people like Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Adam Smith, Sarojini Naidu & Gordon Brown. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as scientists, writers, intellectuals & academics, miscellaneous and inventors & discoverers etc.
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 1 
Charles Darwin
(Naturalist known for His Contributions to Evolutionary Biology)
Charles Darwin
89
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 2 
Alexander Graham Bell
(Inventor of Telephone & Co-Founder of 'American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T)')
Alexander Graham Bell
54
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 3 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(British Writer Who Created the Character of Sherlock Holmes)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
30
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: July 7, 1930
Physician-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for creating the iconic character Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and 56 short stories on Holmes’s detective adventures and also created the characters Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard. A sports lover, he had dabbled in cricket, football, and bodybuilding, too.
 4 
Robert Louis Stevenson
(Author of Famous Novels: 'Treasure Island' and 'Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde')
Robert Louis Stevenson
21
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

 5 
David Hume
(Best Known for His Highly Influential System of Philosophical Empiricism, Scepticism and Naturalism)
David Hume
15
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1776

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.

 6 
James Maxwell
(Scottish Mathematician and Scientist Who Gave the Classical Theory of Electromagnetic Radiation)
James Maxwell
10
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 13, 1831
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 5, 1879

Scottish physicist James Maxwell’s contributions included the formulation of the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation and the production of the first light-fast color photograph. His Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution explored the kinetic theory of gases. He has also written poems and was an Elder of the Church of Scotland.

Sir James Matthew Barrie
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
Died: June 19, 1937

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish playwright and novelist. He is credited and remembered for creating the famous fictional character, Peter Pan. In the 1922 New Year Honours, Barrie was made a member of the Order of Merit. Before his death, he gifted the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children with the rights of his Peter Pan works.

 8 
Julius Nyerere
(Politician)
Julius Nyerere
5
Birthdate: April 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Butiama, Tanzania
Died: October 14, 1999
 9 
Susie Wolff
(British Former Professional Racing Driver)
Susie Wolff
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 6, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oban, Scotland

Susie Wolff is a British retired racing driver who competed in Formula One. Wolff made history in 2014 when she became the first woman in 22 years to participate in a Formula One race weekend. Susie Wolff is the current CEO of Venturi Racing, which competes in Formula E.

 10 
Pippa Middleton
(English Socialite, Author, Columnist and Younger Sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge)
Pippa Middleton
19
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 6, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Philippa Charlotte Matthews, better known as Pippa Middleton, is the younger sister of Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She soared to fame after appearing as the maid of honor at Kate’s wedding to Prince William. She is a columnist and editor and has also authored a book.
 11 
Eric Liddell
(Scottish Sprinter, Rugby Player and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Eric Liddell
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tianjin, China
Died: February 21, 1945

Eric Liddell was a Scottish athlete who won a gold medal in 400 meters race at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. In his later years, he became a Christian missionary. Though he was of Scottish origin, he was born in China, where he spent most of his life and died eventually.

 12 
Oliver Goldsmith
(Anglo-Irish Novelist, Playwright, Dramatist and Poet)
Oliver Goldsmith
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 10, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Longford, Ireland
Died: April 4, 1774

Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, and playwright. Described by his contemporaries as a disorganized and impetuous person, Goldsmith is best remembered for his works, such as The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village, and She Stoops to Conquer. A respected writer, Goldsmith's statue has been erected in several places, including the Trinity College, Dublin.

 13 
Edward VII
(King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India (1901 - 1910))
Edward VII
18
Birthdate: November 9, 1841
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 6, 1910

Edward VII, the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death, is said to have played a role in the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. His main interests lay in the fields of foreign affairs and naval and military matters.

 14 
Klaus Fuchs
(Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy)
Klaus Fuchs
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 29, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rüsselsheim, German Empire
Died: January 28, 1988

German theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs worked on many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons. He was also an atomic spy who provided information about nuclear weapons production to the Soviet Union during World War II. He was convicted and jailed for nine years, following which he resumed his career as a physicist.

 15 
Max Richter
(One of the Best-Selling German Composers and Pianists)
Max Richter
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: March 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamelin, Germany

German-born British composer Max Richter is known for his experiments with classical music, which he often mingles with contemporary electronica. Apart from performing at sold-out concerts at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, he has also composed for shows such as Black Mirror and Taboo and films such as Hostiles.

 16 
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
(Politician)
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 20, 1784
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westminster, Middlesex, England
Died: October 18, 1865
 17 
Maggie Cheung
(Hong Kong Former Actress)
Maggie Cheung
8
Birthdate: September 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hong Kong

A former Miss World semi-finalist, Hong Kong actor Maggie Cheung won international acclaim with the film Center Stage. After her Cannes-winning performance in Clean, she deviated to philanthropy and music. Named UNICEF's Ambassador to China, she has also been part of the jury at Venice, Berlin, and Cannes film festivals.

 18 
Jane Alexander
(Actress)
Jane Alexander
3
Birthdate: October 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 19 
Robert Liston
(Surgeon)
Robert Liston
3
Listed In: Physicians
Birthdate: October 28, 1794
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ecclesmachan, West Lothian, Scotland
Died: December 7, 1847

Scottish surgeon Robert Liston worked in an era when anesthesia wasn’t invented. He could complete amputations within minutes, thus saving the lives of many when the speed of the surgery made the difference between life and death. Later, he became the first European surgeon to operate under anesthesia.

 20 
Chris Hoy
(Former Scottish Track Cyclist)
Chris Hoy
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

Chris Hoy is a British racing driver and former track cyclist. A highly decorated Olympic cyclist, he is the recipient of six gold and one silver medals. He is also an 11-time World Champion. He announced his retirement from competitive cycling in 2013. He is also interested in motorsport and competed at the 2015 Race of Champions.

 21 
Richard Owen
(Biologist)
Richard Owen
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: July 20, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: December 18, 1892
 22 
Amber Rudd
(Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2018 - 2019))
Amber Rudd
6
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom

Amber Rudd is a former politician who served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom from 2018 to 2019. From 2016 to 2018, she served as Home Secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May. Also a humanitarian, Amber Rudd is part of an organization called Snowdon Trust, which helps disabled people access education.

 23 
Robert Stephenson
(English Civil Engineer and Designer of Locomotives)
Robert Stephenson
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 16, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Willington Quay, Northumberland, England
Died: October 12, 1859
English civil engineer and locomotive designer Robert Stephenson is remembered for his railroad bridges, the most notable of them being the Britannia Bridge. He was the only son of rail transport pioneer George Stephenson. He had also been a mining engineer in Colombia and was knighted in Belgium, France, and Norway.
 24 
Angus Macfadyen
(Actor)
Angus Macfadyen
5
Birthdate: September 21, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 25 
Geoffrey Hinton
(Computer scientist)
Geoffrey Hinton
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wimbledon

After gaining a degree in psychology, Geoffrey Hinton earned a PhD in artificial intelligence. The Google VP is a Turing Award-winning computer scientist and also teaches at the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he has revolutionized neural network research and has co-written about 200 papers.

 26 
Ian Charleson
(Scottish actor)
Ian Charleson
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: January 6, 1990
 27 
James Boswell
(Best Known for His Biography of His Friend and Older Contemporary the English Writer 'Samuel Johnson')
James Boswell
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 29, 1740
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 19, 1795

Best known for his biography of his friend Samuel Johnson, 18th-century biographer and diarist James Boswell was also a qualified lawyer. Know for his reckless lifestyle and his trysts with prostitutes, he had contracted gonorrhea and had also fathered many children, including two illegitimate ones.

 28 
Tom Chaplin
(English Singer-Songwriter and the Lead Singer of Keane)
Tom Chaplin
4
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: March 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hastings, East Sussex, England

English singer-songwriter Tom Chaplin is best known as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Keane. His album Hopes and Fears, created with Keane, was one of the most successful UK albums of all time. He later went solo. He has also openly discussed his issues with drug abuse.

 29 
Philippa Gregory
(English Historical Novelist)
Philippa Gregory
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
 30 
Benjamin Rush
(Founding Father of the United States)
Benjamin Rush
5
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 4, 1746
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Byberry, Philadelphia, United States
Died: April 19, 1813
 31 
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
(English Property Developer, Founder and Chief Executive of ‘Banda’ Property)
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
3
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi became known internationally when he married the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Beatrice. He is otherwise known as the founder of an interior design and property development company called Banda, for which he also serves as the chief executive.

 32 
Michael McIntyre
(One of the Highest-Grossing Stand-Up Comedians in the World)
Michael McIntyre
6
Birthdate: February 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England

Comedian, writer, and presenter Michael McIntyre is best known for his popular shows Michael McIntyre's Big Show and Michael McIntyre's The Wheel. Born to a comedian father, he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. He is also known for his energetic and restless appearance during his performances.

 33 
Gillian McKeith
(Scottish Television Personality and Writer)
Gillian McKeith
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Perth, Scotland

TV star and author Gillian McKeith is known for her pseudo-scientific theories, her sex pills, and her diet plans. The host of shows such as Eat Yourself Sexy, McKeith was warned by the ASA to not call herself a “doctor” in her ads. She campaigned against the vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 34 
Ian Rankin
(Writer, Novelist)
Ian Rankin
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Scotland
 35 
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
(Indian Islamic Reformer and Educationist Who Founded the ‘Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College’, the First Muslim University in Southern Asia)
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
32
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.
 36 
Prafulla Chandra Ray
4
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: August 2, 1861
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Khulna
Died: June 16, 1944

Indian Bengali chemist Prafulla Chandra Ray founded the country’s first pharma company, Bengal Chemicals. Educated in Calcutta and Edinburgh, he later worked from his home, a room on the first floor of the college where he taught. Knighted for his achievements, he donated generous sums to the Brahmo Samaj initiatives.

 37 
David Brewster
(Scientist)
David Brewster
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 11, 1781
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jedburgh, Scotland
Died: February 10, 1868

David Brewster was a British scientist, inventor, and author. He conducted many experiments in physical optics, especially concerned with the study of the polarization of light. Fellow scientist William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics." He was also a pioneer in photography and invented an improved stereoscope. He wrote numerous works of popular science as well. 

 38 
Ed Stoppard
0
Birthdate: September 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 39 
Patrick Malahide
(Actor)
Patrick Malahide
0
Birthdate: March 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berkshire, England, UK
 40 
Talal Asad
(Saudi Anthropologist Known for His Writing Calling for the Anthropology of Secularism)
Talal Asad
0
Birthdate: 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Medina, Saudi Arabia

Sociocultural anthropologist and City University of New York professor Talal Asad is best known for his research on nomads, postcolonialism, and the culture of nations such as Sudan. He has also taught at the universities of Khartoum and Hull, and penned books such as On Suicide Bombing.

 41 
Alexander McCall Smith
(British Writer Known for the Series of Novels ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’)
Alexander McCall Smith
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 24, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Alexander McCall Smith is a British-Zimbabwean writer best known for his The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of novels. A lawyer by qualification, he is a respected expert on medical law and bioethics. His books have sold over 40 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 46 languages. Also an amateur bassoonist, he co-founded The Really Terrible Orchestra.  

 42 
Judy Murray
(Scottish Tennis Coach)
Judy Murray
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stirlingshire, Scotland

Apart from being the mother of tennis players Andy and Jamie Murray, Judy Murray is also a celebrated tennis coach and had initially coached both her sons. A talented tennis player in her youth, she now owns a charity, too. She was also seen in the dance reality show Strictly Come Dancing.

 43 
Mungo Park
(Explorer)
Mungo Park
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Selkirkshire, Scotland
Died: July 19, 1806
 44 
Robert Brown
(Botanist)
Robert Brown
8
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 21, 1773
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montrose, Scotland
Died: June 10, 1858

Copley Medal-winning Scottish botanist Robert Brown is remembered for his detailed descriptions on topics such as the cell nuclei and what later came to be known as the Brownian motion. After studying medicine, he had also served the British Army as a surgeon and also toured the Australian shores aboard The Investigator.

 45 
Tessa Jowell
(Politician)
Tessa Jowell
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 17, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
Died: May 12, 2018
 46 
James Hutton
(Geologist)
James Hutton
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 3, 1726
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: March 26, 1797

The pioneer of modern geology, James Hutton laid down the principle of uniformitarianism in geology. While he was initially interested in chemistry, he had later also studied law and had then moved on to medicine. His iconic Theory of the Earth explained the science behind rock formations.

 47 
Bill Turnbull
(Journalist, Presenter)
Bill Turnbull
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Guildford

Bill Turnbull is an English journalist and TV presenter. Turnbull was the principal male presenter of the popular breakfast news program BBC Breakfast, contributing to its success for 15 years. Bill Turnbull is also known for his charity work; in 2009, Buckinghamshire New University gave him an honorary doctorate for his work within the Buckinghamshire community.

 48 
Christy Clark
(Canadian Politician and Radio personality)
Christy Clark
0
Birthdate: October 29, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Burnaby, Canada
 49 
Sam Denby
(Youtuber)
Sam Denby
14
Listed In: YouTubers
Birthdate: March 17, 1997
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: United States
 50 
Tommy Armour
(Scottish-American Professional Golfer)
Tommy Armour
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 24, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 11, 1968

Tommy Armour was a Scottish-American golfer who won 25 PGA Tour events, including three major championships. After his retirement, Armour established himself as a teacher and is credited with teaching future golfers like Lawson Little and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Tommy Armour even co-wrote an influential book titled How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time, which became a best-seller.

Being one of Scotland’s ancient universities, the University of Edinburgh traces back its foundation to the year 1582. Essentially being a research university, the University of Edinburgh is currently ranked 19th as per the 2016-2017 QS Rankings. It has the third largest endowment in the United Kingdom, and was ranked 4th in the UK and 1st in Scotland for its research power, as per the Research Excellence Framework. The three colleges offer various programs in the areas of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and Science and Engineering. Being the fourth most popular university in the United Kingdom, in terms of applicants, it is considered as one of the most difficult colleges to get into in Scotland. With the mission to be one of world’s leading research and teaching institutes internationally, the university improvises, innovates and improves, while sticking to its rich heritage and the highest quality of teaching. The University of Edinburgh is renowned for creating various legends that have made an everlasting impression on the world, in several areas of study. Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Bayes, James Clerk Maxwell and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are some esteemed personalities who were once students of the University of Edinburgh. Brace yourself and keep reading this list to know more eminent individuals who have made the University Of Edinburgh proud with their contribution to society.