Biography of John Ferguson
John [nicknamed "Soda"] Ferguson (1838-1916) was a University graduate who was Regius Professor of Chemistry from 1874 to 1915.
Born in Alloa, the young Ferguson moved with his family to Glasgow and he matriculated to study at the University in 1855. He graduated BA in 1861 and MA with honours in 1862 and, having developed an interest in science, he worked with Professor William Thomson on research into electric telegraph cables. He matriculated in the Faculty of Medicine in 1863 to study Chemistry and became an assistant to Professor Thomas Anderson: he was responsible for planning the transfer of the Chemistry Department to Gilmorehill in 1870.
As Regius Professor, Ferguson devoted much of his time to researching and writing about the history of Science and his most famous work was the Biblioteca Chemica (1906), a bibliography of writers on alchemy and chemistry. He created a personal library of around 18,000 volumes, the larger part of which was acquired for the University Library in 1921 and named the Ferguson Collection.
Ferguson was a president of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow and the Glasgow Archaeological Society, and a photograph survives of him dressed in the uniform of the Royal Company of Archers.