Educated at Irvine Academy and at Glasgow and Cambridge Universities.
1860-6 H. M. Inspector of Schools in Scotland.
1866-70 Held the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Owens College, Manchester.
1870 Became editor of the Glasgow Herald
Partner in Macmillan and Co
1879 Appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at Glasgow University
1909 Retired from Glasgow University; succeeded by Professor G. A. Gibson.