Person: Lonie, William Oughter
William Oughter Lonie was a Scottish teacher whose ideas were influential in the development of Scottish education.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- However, this is explained by the fact that Lonie was training to be a teacher and began working in schools in 1838 in parallel with his university studies.
- He declared the satisfaction it had given him to observe the activity and promise of Mr Lonie.
- Mr Lonie's mathematical classes occupied the earlier hours of the forenoon.
- Dr Haldane addressed Mr Lonie with unqualified commendation.
- On 22 November 1850 their twin sons were born: Alexander Charles Oughterlonie and William Robert Oughterlonie.
- Although devoting himself to teaching at Madras College, where he was seen as an educational reformer, Lonie also undertook research.
- He corresponded with Professor Macdonald at the University of Glasgow about his experiments and the University holds one such letter from Lonie dated 29 January 1853.
- A related area of interest would lead to Lonie gaining an international reputation.
- Lonie's 'Prize Essay on the Stereoscope' won the prize of 20 guineas which was presented to him by Sir David Brewster.
- In it Brewster refers to Lonie's Prize Essay on the Stereoscope.
- In the same year of 1856 Lonie's Prize essay was published as the book Practical Stereoscopic Photography.
- We have quite a lot of information concerning the content of Lonie's teaching since the Fair Book of James Walker written in 1853 while he was taking Lonie's classes, has survived.
- Topics taught in Lonie's Mathematics Department in 1879 are: Mathematics - Euclid, Elementary Modern Geometry and Conic Sections, Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, with practice, Elementary Algebra with Higher Equations, Mensuration, and Mechanics; Physics - after Balfour Stewart and Modern Views of Natural Forces including Energy, Sound, Heat, Light; Geography - Modern Geography.
- As to Lonie's ideas about teaching, we have details of his interview by the Assistant-Commissioners on the State of Education in the Burgh and Middle-Class Schools in Scotland, 1867-68.
- Lonie received two notable honours: the University of St Andrews honoured Lonie when they awarded him an LL.D. on 12 February 1870; and a dinner was held in his honour in 1881.
- Dr Lonie may be regarded as a pioneer reformer in his own walk of life.
- He has no faith in the "tawse" as an educator, and, notwithstanding the lack of order and authority many would suppose this would entail, no one could take even a cursory glance through Dr Lonie's classroom without being struck with its joyous air of freedom, its remarkable absence of what he himself terms "boy-repression" and the manifold indications of vigorous hard work.
- Professor Birrell read many tributes to Lonie from former pupils not able to be present.
- The 1881 dinner marks the high point of Lonie's exceptional teaching career.
- When he left St Andrews, Dr Oughterlonie, after a few months residence in Trinity Crescent, bought Oakleigh Villa, Wardie, near Granton, hoping then to give his later years to science and books.
Born 22 September 1822, Kinghorn, Fife, Scotland. Died 4 January 1894, Edinburgh, Scotland.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive