THE Professor of Mathematics in Glasgow University was born at Stewarton, Ayrshire, 29th May, 1834, and was educated at Glasgow and Cambridge, being elected a Fellow of Peterhouse. He was appointed H.M. Inspector of Schools for the south-west district of Scotland in 1860, on the same day as Dr. John Kerr, so long Chief Inspector in Scotland, author of "Memories Grave and Gay." At that time there were only six Inspectors of Schools in Scotland, and they were appointed in connection with the different churches - so many for the Established Church, so many for the Free, one occasionally for the Scottish Episcopal Church, and so on. His career as a School Inspector, however, was short. He accepted the Professorship of Natural Philosophy at Owen's College, Manchester, in 1866, in succession to Professor Clifton, of Oxford. Owen's College then had only 113 students, and it occupied an old house in Quay Street which had belonged to Richard Cobden.
Professor A. W. Ward, Master of Peterhouse, joined the College at the same time, and among Dr. Jack's other colleagues were Sir Henry Roscoe and Professors Williamson, Osborne Reynolds, Dawkins, and Wilkins. Four years later Dr. Jack went to Glasgow as editor of the Glasgow Herald, a post which he occupied till 1876. Perhaps the most vivid memory of his editorship was the outbreak of the Franco-German War, tidings of which reached the office in Buchanan Street on a well-remembered Glasgow Fair Saturday. His next experience was as a publisher in London in connection with Messrs. Macmillan & Co., an occupation in which he was thrown into contact with many of the best-known literary men of the day. In 1879 he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at Glasgow which he has held with so much acceptance to the present time.
Professor Jack was further identified with Glasgow University by the fact that his wife, who died in 1901 was a daughter of the late J. P. Nichol, LL.D., who held the Glasgow Chair of Astronomy, and a sister of Professor John Nichol, LL.D., the late brilliant occupant of the Chair of English Literature.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)