Biography of Robert Cowan
Robert Cowan (1796-1841) was a graduate of the University who was the first Regius Professor of Medical Jurisprudence and Forensic Medicine, from 1839 until his death in 1841.
Cowan was the son of a surgeon (also named Robert) and graduated MD in 1834, becoming a visiting physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1836 to 1838. Although the new Chair was originally titled Medical Jurisprudence and Forensic Medicine, he referred to it in correspondence as Medical Jurisprudence and Medical Police. He published a number of papers on the epidemiology and vital statistics of Glasgow but taught little during his short professorship owing to ill-health.
Cowan's son John Black Cowan was Professor of Materia Medica at the University, 1865 to 1880.