Ferguson, James (1710-1776), an experimental philosopher, mechanician, and astronomer, born at Keith in Banffshire. As a boy he made a wooden clock, and, when employed upon a farm to keep sheep, he used to study the stars and measure their relative distances by a knotted string. Some wealthy neighbours encouraged his endeavours, and put him into the way of studying mathematics and drawing, and for some time he supported himself in Edinburgh by executing miniature portraits. In 1743 he came to London, where he published some astronomical tables and lectures, and the Prince of Wales settled a small pension upon him. In 1763 he became a F.R.S. He produced many works and papers, and was strong in astronomy and experimental physics, but was weak in mathematics.