JAMESON, ROBERT (1774-1854), regius professor of natural history in the university of Edinburgh, was born at Leith July 11, 1771. After an education at Leith grammar school and Edinburgh university, he became assistant to a surgeon in his native town ; but, having studied natural history under Dr Walker in 1792 and 1793, he felt that his true province lay in that science, for which indeed he had had a predilection from boyhood. The course of his studies during the next few years is to be traced in his scientific papers and books. He went in 1800 to Freiberg to study for nearly two years under the learned Werner, and spent other two in Continental travel. On his return to Edinburgh in 1801-, when he succeeded Dr Walker in the chair of natural history, he became, iu lectures, writings, and controversy, perhaps the first great exponent in England of the Wernerian geological system ; and it is to his credit that, when he found that theory untenable, he frankly and honestly announced his conversion to the views of Hutton. As a teacher, Professor Jameson was no less remarkable than Werner for his power of imparting his own enthusiasm to his students, and from his classroom there radiated an influence which gave a marked impetus to the study of geology in Britain. It was his energy also that, by means of Government aid, private donation, and personal outlay, amassed the greater part of the splendid collection which now occupies the natural history department of the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art. In 1808 Jameson founded the Wernerian Natural History Society, and in 1819, along with Sir David Brewste'r, he originated the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, which after the tenth volume remained under his sole conduct till his death, which took place April 19, 1854. His bust, presented by the Wernerian Society to the museum some years before his death, now stands in the university library hall.
Professor Jameson was the author of Mineralogy of Arran and the Shetland Islands, 1798, incorporated with Mineralogy of the Scottish Isles, 2 vols. 4to, 1800; Mineralogical Description of Scot. land, vol. i. pt. 1, "Dumfriesshire," 1804 (this was to have been the first of a series embracing all Scotland); System of Mineralogy, 1804; Characters of Minerals, 1804; Elements of Geognosy, 1809; and Manual of Minerals and Mountain Rocks, 1821; besides a number of occasional papers, of which a list will be found in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal for April 1854, along with a biographical sketch of the author.