Sir Robert Sibbald (1641-1722)

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Sir Robert Sibbald (1641–1722) was Edinburgh University's first Professor of the Practice of Physic and the co-founder of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden with Sir Andrew Balfour (1630-1694).

Sibbald was born in Edinburgh on 15 April 1641. He was educated in Cupar in Fife, Dundee, and Edinburgh, and studied at Edinburgh University. At first it was thought he would enter the Church but then he decided on medicine and in 1660 went to Leiden in the Netherlands. After taking his degree of MD in 1661 with a dissertation entitled De variis tabis speciebus he went to Paris and then to Angers. In 1662 he returned to Edinburgh by way of London. In 1670, he and Dr. Andrew Balfour established a botanical garden in Edinburgh in grounds belongin to Holyroodhouse. Their scheme soon attracted the attention of other physicians interested in the plants that might be exploited for medicine, and ground was leased beside the city's Trinity Hospital. Sibbald was also one of the founders of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh which obtained a charter in 1681. In 1682 he was appointed physician to Charles II and in the same year was made Geographer of Scotland. Three years later he became the University's first Professor of the Practice of Physic.