Daniel Martin B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S.E. was born in Carluke on 16 April 1915, the only child of William and Rose Martin (née Macpherson). The family home in which he was born, Cygnetbank in Clyde Street, had been remodelled and extended by his father, and it was to be Dan's home all his life. His father, who was a carpenter and joiner, had a business based in School Lane, but died as a result of a tragic accident when Dan was only six. Thereafter Dan was brought up single handedly by his mother.
After attending primary school in Carluke from 1920 to 1927, Dan entered the High School of Glasgow. It was during his third year there that he started studying calculus on his own. He became so enthused by the subject that he set his sights on a career teaching mathematics, at university if at all possible. On leaving school in 1932, he embarked on the M.A. honours course in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. At that time the Mathematics Department was under the leadership of Professor Thomas MacRobert; the honours course in Mathematics consisted mainly of geometry, calculus and analysis, and the combined honours M.A. with Natural Philosophy was the standard course for mathematicians. A highlight of his first session at university was attending a lecture on the origins of the general theory of relativity, given on 20th June 1933 by Albert Einstein. This was the first of a series of occasional lectures on the history of mathematics funded by the George A. Gibson Foundation which had been set up inmemory of the previous head of the Mathematics Department. From then on, relativity was to be one of Dan's great interests, lasting a lifetime; indeed, on holiday in Iona the year before he died, Dan's choice of holiday reading included three of Einstein's papers.