Papers of Professor Sidney Michaelson (1925-1991)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of: 1 box-file containing typescript notes of An introduction to numerical mathematics for students of engineering and science by W. G. Bickley and Sidney Michaelson; 2 boxes of off-prints; and, 1 box of diaries from 1962 to 1991. There is also a photograph copied from a print .

Administrative / Biographical History

The computer scientist Sidney Michaelson was born in London on 5 December 1925. He graduated in 1946 with a First Class Honours degree in mathematics. Michaelson planned to work in the aircraft industry but instead took research posts at Imperial College and at the Electrical Research Association Laboratories. In 1949 he became a Lecturer in mathematics at Imperial College. There, he worked on the design and construction of digital computers with K. D. Tocher and was involved with what became known as microprogramming. In 1963 he was invited to set up a computer unit at Edinburgh University and this later became the Computer Science Department. He was given the Chair of Computer Science at Edinburgh in 1966. Michaelson was also interested in the stylistic analysis of literary texts, using computers to analyse disputed authorship, chronologies of literary works, and criminal confessions. Professor Sidney Michaelson died in Edinburgh on 21 February 1991.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Photograph, acquired from Kate Duncan, Dept. of Computer Science, Edinburgh University, March 1991, Accession no. E92.59. Diaries etc., donated by Dr. G. Michaelson, son, February 1996, Accession no. E96.5


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Rees, D. J. 'Professor Sidney Michaelson'. The Independent. February 1991. London. (2) R.N.I. Obituary. 'Sidney Michaelson: computer scientist'. The Scotsman. 25 February 1991.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Corporate Names