Thomas Thomson Scotland England Afghanistan India

Biography of Thomas Thomson

Thomas Thomson was a botanist and surgeon who graduated from the University MD in 1839. He was born in Glasgow, the eldest son of Thomas Thomson (1773-1852), a professor of chemistry at the University.

Whilst at the University Thomson studied botany, and was a student of William Jackson Hooker. In 1835 he won prizes for best anatomy essay, and best natural philosophy essay. After graduating Thomson entered the service of the East India Company as an assistant surgeon. He soon moved up the ranks to surgeon in 1853, and surgeon-major in 1859. Whilst in India he investigated the botany of the plains and outer Himalayas, Kashmir and the Karakoram Pass. He published an account of his explorations in Western Himalaya and Tibet (1852). In 1855 Thomas moved to Calcutta where he was installed as superintendent of the botanical garden and professor of botany at the Calcutta medical college. He held these posts until 1861, when he retired and moved back to England. In 1871 he returned to India as a treasurer and translator to the expedition under Sir Norman Lockyer sent out to observe the solar eclipse on 12 December 1871.

Thomson was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1852, of the Royal Geographical Society in 1854, and of the Royal Society in 1855. He also served as an examiner in botany for the University of London and the Royal School of Mines, as well as in natural science for the medical services of the army and navy.


Thomas Thomson
Born 4 December 1817.
Died 18 April 1878.
GU Degree: MD, 1839;
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate
Occupation categories: botanists; surgeons
Record last updated: 16th May 2017

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow
Place of Birth

England England, London
Place of Death

Afghanistan Afghanistan, No Region

India India

University Connections

University Roles