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Our alumni

By choosing to pursue further study or research at Edinburgh you will be following in many prestigious footsteps - our alumni have been at the forefront of knowledge since our creation in 1583.

Dr Piers Sellers in a spacesuit

Some of our distinguished former students include Charles Darwin, author of “The Origin of Species”; philosopher and leading figure of the Enlightenment David Hume; physicist James Clerk Maxwell; and James Simpson, pioneer of chloroform in midwifery and surgery.

More recent well-known alumni include Dr Piers Sellers, who became the third Briton to go into space in 2002; former MI5 director Stella Rimington and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We are associated with nine Nobel Prize winners, including Professor Charles Barkla (Physics, 1917) and Max Born (Physics, 1954). Recent graduate winners include Peter Doherty (Medicine, 1996) and James Mirrlees (Economics, 1996).

In 2004, University Honorary Professor Sir Michael Atiyah won the prestigious Abel Prize, Maths' equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Recent recipients of our alumnus of the year award have included novelist Ian Rankin, Olympic medallists Chris Hoy and Katherine Grainger, and author Alexander McCall Smith.

Photograph copyright NASA.

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