The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient universities. It was the fourth university to be established in Scotland and the sixth in the United Kingdom, and is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university.
The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North. Alumni of the university include some of the major figures of modern history, including the physicist James Clerk Maxwell, naturalist Charles Darwin, philosopher David Hume, mathematician Thomas Bayes, surgeon Joseph Lister, signatories of the American declaration of independence John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere, and a host of famous authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie and Sir Walter Scott.
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