With recent news, celebrating Glasgow University as being one of the most student satisfied universities in Britain (90% per cent by National Student Survey) we thought it was about time to dig into Glasgow University’s spectacular history.

Some of our uncovered facts you might know, some you definitely won’t, but here are 13 facts about Glasgow University you will definitely find interesting.

1. It’s Quite Old


Glasgow Uni was born 1451.

2. It’s Quite Prestigious


Considered to be in the upper echelons of the world’s universities, (55th in the world), it is also a founding member of Universitas 21.

Universitas 21 is an international board of top universities who together set the standards expected for worldwide education.

3. After Glasgow Uni (1451)

– The Mona Lisa (1503-1506)

– The acceptance the earth was round, (by everyone who wasn’t a scholar, late 1400’s .)

– The American Continent (Christopher Columbus discovered America 1492)

4. Aztec History


There were only 106 years between the peak of the Aztec Civilisation 1345 (sun gods, human sacrifice etc) and the birth of Glasgow University 1451. The Aztec civilisation actually lasted until 1521.

5. Printing Press


Glasgow University, considered to be one of the pantheons of education throughout the world, came into existence eleven years after the creation of the printing press. German inventor, Johannes Guttenberg, unveiled the first working printing press, signifying the birth of mass communication in 1440. Literally the birth of information in the western world.

6. Written Bible


Glasgow University came into being before the Bible had been translated into English. In Britain it was illegal to translate the bible from Latin into English and the first person to do so William Tyndale in 1526, was then executed in 1536. This inadvertently led to the Reformation and the separation of the Christian Church. (Catholic, Protestant.)

7. Albert Einstein


In 1933 Albert Einstein, responsible for evolution of 20th century physics, was given an honourary degree by Glasgow University. He delivered a lecture to an audience of 1500 and as Einstein approached he was cheered into the Bute Hall.

8. John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird. Baird working on the 'Falkirk' transmitter.

John Logie Baird, the creator of arguably the most culturally significant invention of all time, the television, studied at Glasgow University in 1914, and surprisingly during his time was considered at best, an average student. He also created a process in which a television signal could be recorded onto phonograph. Unbeknown to Logie Baird he had just created the first (albeit primitive) video recorder.

9. Adam Smith

adam smith

The father of modern economics (the reasoning behind economies and the buying and selling of goods across the world) began studying at Glasgow Uni at just 14 years old. Author of “Wealth of Nations” which is the first and arguably the most important book on capitalism and economics ever written. Smith only managed to continue his studies after Glasgow University following the establishment of a scholarship by fellow Scot, John Snell.

10. Glasgow University WW1/WW2


A graduate of Glasgow University, Frank Barnwell and his brother, Harold Barnwell helped Britain’s faltering fortunes in both world wars. With British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, realising the BE2 fighter planes to be vastly inferior to the superior German Fokker E-Type, the War Cabinet challenged Frank Barnwell to create a plane which could equal and defeat German pilots on the Western Front. Although both Barnwell’s died before WW2 Frank was directly responsible for the creation of Britain First bomber and Blendheim Bomber which gave the RAF the ability to defeat the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

11. Nobel Alumni

Glasgow University’s past alumni include 7 Nobel Laureates, the man who helped instigate the Industrial Revolution (James Watt), the man who discovered CO2 (Joseph Black), Donald Dewar, and Steven Moffat (Doctor Who and Sherlock) as well as a host of other people who literally changed the world.

12. Listed Buildings


With Glasgow University being founded in 1451, its has a collective history of more than 560 years, and not only that but the university itself is made up of more than 100 listed buildings.

13. History Recorded

Finally did you know that prior to 1914 every single graduate was recorded by the university. It is actually still possible to view the 18,863 graduates on the Glasgow University website.