Science Tour

We all know that Scotland is breathtakingly beautiful and famous for castles, clans, golf and whisky but there is much, much more to this tiny nation.

Scottish people are unbelievably welcoming and always there to lend you a helping hand.

Besides all this the Scots are true innovators and inventors. In the past as much as for the future and naturally right now too.

Where do I start? The telephone, the “improved” steam engine, penicilin, coloured photography, the hypodermic syringe, the flushing toilet, the toaster, pneumatic tyres, fingerprinting, the vacuum flasks, geology….

More recently, the refridgerator*, the MRI scanner, ATMs, computer games such as Grand Theft Auto, disposable contact lenses and Dolly, the cloned sheep.

Glasgow Science Centre is a visitor attraction located in the Clyde Waterfront on the south bank of the River Clyde, Glasgow. The Glasgow tower to the left, Science centre in the middle and behind the IMAX cinema (to the right of the picture). With kind permission of Visit Scotland

It has always fascinated me that such a small nation has produced so many inventions and is still on the forefront of it right now: Click here for an overview of Scottish inventions

Perhaps this is due to the long, long dark winter nights everybody suffers through only to enjoy never ending days during summer time?

Dundee Science Centre with kind permission of Visit Scotland

Most of the life stories of these many, many Scottish inventors are very much tangible. You still can visit places which have inspired them. Furthermore you can -hands on- evaluate some of their discoveries. If you take, for example, James Hutton, who basically invented geology. He was a product of the Edinburgh based enlightenment. You can follow his foot steps in Edinburgh and if you climb up Arthur’s seat you can still see the formations at “Hutton’s section”, which made him make assumptions about the age of the earth.

You can delve into more depth by visiting Dynamic Earth

Other famous Scots from the period of Scottish Enlightenment are Francis HutchesonDavid HumeAdam SmithDugald StewartThomas ReidRobert BurnsAdam FergusonJohn PlayfairJoseph Black

This is me very roughly inviting you into James Hutton’s life and this is the other thing Scotland is ever so famous for: Storytelling

Wherever you go in Scotland you always stumble across some amazing history, inventions and stories.

You could spend half a life time following the Enlightenment in Edinburgh and all its key people

Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland was very vibrant during the enlightenment but by no means is this the only place of scientific discoveries.

Pitlochry is know for its theatre, amazing walks, two whisky distilleries and last but not least for its fish ladder which is part of its hydroelectric sheme which was completed in 1950. Famously a salmon ladder was installed to allow the fish to bypass the hydro electric scheme.

However, hydro electric in Scotland dates back to 1891 when the Fort August Abbey sheme was built. Later projects were driven by the aluminuim industry such as the 1907 construction at Kinlochleven

`The industrial revolution has had a massive influence on Scotland whether this was in Glasgow which developed into the world trade centre of tobacco (and slavery) or the building of the railway network.

The early railway network had a close relationship with hotels such as the Gleneagles Hotel .

Besides the well known and celebrated inventions, Scotland has quietly advanced towards a greener future by making use of renewal energy, which beside hydro electric is also readily available through wind and tidal energy.

By 2015 Scotland already produced 60% of her energy like this.

Currently the most exiting news is in tidal energy on Orkney of all places.

There has just an artcle been published “How can Scotland become a world leader in wave energy?”and more on Wave Energy Scoland

Many of Scotland’s lanscapes are unique and need our protection. We can, however, only protect what we know. Therefore suistainable travel to learn, research, educate and understand is a very sensible way to raise awareness.

Whether this is for the ancient Ariundle Oakwoods and perhaps to experience traditional crofting at nearby Darrach Croft or the amazing Biosphere of Galloway & South Ayrshire ,One of Scotland’s many vulcanos or a dinosaur footprint on the Isle of Skye.

Your options are unlimited. Even the choice of your overnight accommodation could turn into an educational venture if you opt for Glenuig Inn, which runs 100% on renewal energy.

What belongs to these landscapes also are – of course- the animals, some of which are unique to Scotland too, such as the Scottish wildcat but also maritime animals and birds. Chanonry Point; is one of the best places to spot dolphines for instance.

I could go on forever with Scottish inventions and science, but because this appears to be never ending I shall just introduce you to one more famous and contemporary Scot and she is a woman: Professor Sue Black . She was born in Inverness and during her studies of Biologiy her phobia of rats and mice made her turn to study the human bone. As a forensic anthropologist she was called by the Foreign Office and her role took her to Kosovo identifying victims laid to rest in mass graves. She was also involved in Thailand after the Tsunami, Sierra Leone & Iraq>

She worte a book, “All that Remains” about her experience. She was invited by the University of Dundee to run the anatomy department. During that time she realised that the mortuary was too outdated for modern embalming methods such as “Thiel technique”. Of the £2 Mio costs for a renovation she raised half with the help of many famous Scottish crimes authors, but this really is another story.

I leave you with a list of Scottish inventors below and invite to discover science in Scotland with me:

Scottish Heroes The Scot Magazine.
Invented in Scotland by Allan Burnett
How the Scots invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman

Below a list of Scottish scientists, taking from wikipedia:

John Barclay1758–1826anatomistdonor of the Barclay Collection at Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh
John Goodsir1814–1867anatomistpioneer in the study of the cell
John Struthers1823–1899anatomist
Charles Piazzi Smyth1819–1900astronomerAstronomer Royal for Scotland
Johann von Lamont1805–1879astronomerUranus and Saturn moon orbits calculated
Patrick Wilson1743–1811astronomertype-founder, mathematician and meteorologist
Robert Blair1748–1828astronomerinventor of the aplanatic lens
Robert T. A. Innes1861–1933astronomerProxima Centauri discoverer
Sir David Gill1843–1914astronomerastrophotography pioneer
Thomas Brisbane1773–1860astronomer
Thomas Henderson1798–1844astronomerAlpha Centauri, first measured distance
Williamina Fleming1857–1911astronomercataloguing of stars contributor, discoverer of the Horsehead Nebula
James Bassantinfl 16th centuryastronomer and mathematicianauthor of Astronomique Discours, Lyons, 1557
Alexander Wilson1714–1786astronomer and meteorologistalso surgeon, type-founder, and mathematician; the first scientist to record the use of kites in meteorological investigations
James Ferguson1710–1776astronomer, instrument maker
David Gregory1659–1708astronomer, mathematicianSavilian Professor of Astronomy
James Gregory1638–1675astronomer, mathematicianGregorian reflecting telescope, first described, Robert Hooke later built
John James Rickard Macleod1876–1935biochemist, physiologistNobel Prize laureate, 1923
Patrick Geddes1854–1932biologisturban theorist
Robert Edmond Grant1793–1874biologistSwiney lecturer in geology to the British Museum
D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson1860–1948biologist and mathematicianauthor of On Growth and Form
Alexander Dickson1836–1887botanistmorphological botanist
Alexander Gibson1800–1867botanistworked on forest conservation in India
Francis Masson1741–180?botanist1741– c. 1805
George Dickie1812–1882botanistspecialist in algae
Henry Halcro Johnston1856–1939botanistalso army surgeon and rugby union international
James Edward Tierney Aitchison1836–1898botanistsurgeon; collected plants in India and Afghanistan
James Wallace1684–1724botanistparticipated in the Darien Scheme, and obtained plants from that area
John Hope1725–1786botanistbotanist who had genus Hopea named after him
John Hutton Balfour1808–1884botanist
John Macadam1827–1865botanist(Scottish-born Australian)
M R Henderson1899–1982botanist
Philip Miller1691–1771botanist
Robert Brown1773–1858botanistBrownian Motion discoverer
Robert Fortune1813–1880botanist
Robert Graham1786–1845botanistRegius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour1853–1922botanistSherardian Professor of Botany
Thomas Anderson1832–1870botanistdirector of the Calcutta Botanic Garden
Thomas Thomson1817–1878botanistSuperintendent of the Honourable East India Company‘s Botanic Garden at Calcutta
William Aiton1731–1793botanist
William Locheadc.1753–1815botanistsurgeon, curator of the St Vincent Botanical Garden
William McNab1844–1889botanistphysician
William Roxburgh1759–1815botanist
William Wright1735–1819botanistbotanist who had genera Wrightia and Wrightea named after him
Anna MacGillivray Macleod1917–2004botanist, biochemist,professor of brewing
Archibald Menzies1754–1852botanist, explorer
John Fraser1750–1811botanist, plant collector
Alexander Crum Brown1838–1922chemistorganic chemistry
Arthur Pillans Laurie1861–1949chemistpioneered scientific analysis of paint
Daniel Rutherford1749–1819chemistnitrogen element discoverer
James ‘Paraffin’ Young1811–1883chemist
James Napier1810–1884chemistantiquarian
Robert Angus Smith1817–1884chemistenvironmental chemistry, acid rain, discoverer
Sir William Ramsay1852–1916chemistNobel Prize in Chemistry, 1904
Thomas Graham1805–1869chemistdiscovered dialysis
Thomas Charles Hope1766–1844chemist and physiciandiscoverer of strontium
John Scott Russell1808–1882civil engineer, naval architectsolitons
John Logie Baird1888–1946engineertelevision inventor
William Fairbairn1789–1874engineerstructural
Thomas Telford1757–1834engineer, architectcivil engineer, canal builder
Robert Stirling1790–1878engineer, clergymaninventor of the Stirling engine
William John Macquorn Rankine1820–1872engineer, physicistRankine thermodynamic scale (absolute temperature), proposer
Alexander Graham Bell1847–1922engineer, scientisttelephone inventor
Alexander Murray1810–1884geologist
James Hall1761–1832geologist
James Hutton1726–1797geologistscientific basis of geology established
John Flett1869–1947geologistDirector of the Geological Survey of Great Britain
Ninian Imrie of Denmuirc.1750–1820geologistProvided the first geological description of the Rock of Gibraltar
Roderick Murchison1792–1871geologistSilurian period first described, investigated
Thomas Webster1773–1844geologistgeologist who had websterite, now normally called aluminite, named after him
Thomas Wright1809–1884geologistalso physician
William Maclure1760–1843geologist
Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet1797–1875geologist, lawyergeology pioneer, (British), foremost of his day
Sheina Marshall FRSE, FRS, OBE1896–1977marine biologist
Charles Wyville Thomson1830–1882marine zoologistchief scientist on the Challenger expedition
Peter Guthrie Tait1831–1901mathematical physicistproposer of the Tait conjectures in Knot theory
Alexander Anderson158?–162?mathematicianc. 1582– c. 1620
Andrew White Young1891–1968mathematicianresearched temperature seiches in Loch Earn and presented on Mathieu function and Lagrange polynomials
Colin Maclaurin1698–1746mathematicianMaclaurin series developer
David Drysdale1877–1946mathematician
Duncan Farquharson Gregory1813–1844mathematicianalso worked in chemistry and physics
Eric Temple Bell1883–1960mathematicianscience fiction writer
James Ivory1765–1842mathematician
James Stirling1692–1770mathematician
John Craig1663–1731mathematicianNewton colleague
John Napier1550–1617mathematicianlogarithms
Joseph Wedderburn1882–1948mathematician
Marion Cameron Gray1902–1979mathematiciandiscovered Gray graph
Matthew Stewart1717–1785mathematician
Robert J. T. Bell1876–1963mathematicianProfessor of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Otago
Sheila Scott Macintyre1910–1960mathematician
Thomas Barker1838–1907mathematicianprofessor of pure mathematics at Owens College
William Arthur1894–1979mathematician
John Keill1671–1721mathematician and astronomerdisciple and defender of Isaac Newton, Savilian Professor of Astronomy
Mary Somerville1780–1872mathematician, astronomer
James Watt1736–1819mathematician, engineersteam engine improvements contributed key stage in the Industrial Revolution
John Leslie1766–1832mathematician, physicistheat research
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin1824–1907mathematician, physicist, engineer
Alexander Buchan1829–1907meteorologist, oceanographer and botanistestablished the weather map as the basis of weather forecasting
John Aitken1839–1919meteorologist, physicist and marine engineerinventor of the koniscope, (also known as the Aitken dust counter)
Alexander Fleming1881–1955microbiologistNobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1945
James Gregory1832–1899mineralogistbelieved claims of diamond discoveries in South Africa were false
William Gregory1803–1858mineralogist
George Johnston1800–1874naturalistalso physician and mayor of Berwick
James Bell Pettigrew1834–1908naturalistCroonian Lecturer; authority on animal locomotion
John Richardson1787–1865naturalist
John Scouler1804–1871naturalistEnicurus scouleri is named after Scouler
William Jardine1800–1874naturalist
William MacGillivray1796–1852naturalist
John Boyd Orr, 1st Baron Boyd-Orr1880–1971nutritionistNobel Peace Prize winner
Malcolm H. Chisholm, FRS FRSE1945-2015Organometallic chemistContributed to the synthesis and structural chemistry of transition metal complexes
Alexander Wilson1766–1813ornithologistornithology pioneer pre-Audubon (American)
Phillip Clancey1917–2001ornithologistornithology pioneer
William Robert Ogilvie-Grant1863–1924ornithologist
Hugh Falconer1808–1865palaeontologist
David Bruce1855–1931pathologist, microbiologist
James W. Black1924–2010physicianNobel Prize for Medicine, 1988
John George Macleod1915–2006physicianauthor of medical books
Sir James Young Simpson1811–1870physiciananaesthetic chloroform discoverer, midwifery pioneer
Thomas Addison1881–1949physiciannephrology pioneer
David Cuthbertson1900–1989physician, biochemist, medical researcher, nutritionistleading authority on metabolism
William Cullen1710–1790physician, chemist
Anderson Gray McKendrick1876–1943physician, epidemiologistpioneer of the use of mathematical methods in epidemiology
Dr William Alexander Young1889–1928physician, yellow fever researcherposthumously awarded the Médaille des Epidémies du ministère de la France d’outre-mer, 1929
Adam Anderson1783–1846physicistcontributor to Edinburgh Encyclopædia and Encyclopædia Britannica
Charles Wilson1869–1959physicistcloud chamber inventor
James Dewar1842–1923physicistlow temperature, vacuum flask inventor
John Kerr1824–1907physicistelectro-optics pioneer, discovery of Kerr effect
Cargill Gilston Knott1856–1922physicist and mathematicianpioneer in seismology
James Alfred Ewing1855–1935physicist, engineerdiscoverer of hysteresis
James David Forbes1809–1868physicist, geologist
John Gray McKendrick1841–1926physiologist
Muriel Robertson1883–1973protozoologist and bacteriologistMade key discoveries of the life cycle of trypanosomes
David Brewster1781–1868scientistRoyal Scottish Society of Arts founder
James Clerk Maxwell1831–1879scientistthermodynamics, electromagnetics theorist
James Croll1821–1890scientistastronomical theory of 19th-century climate change, leading proponent
Joseph Black1728–1799scientistcarbon dioxide discoverer
Professor George Forbes1849–1936scientistelectrical engineering, hydro-electric power generation
Robert Watson-Watt1892–1973scientistradar inventor
Alan MacMasters1865–1927scientist, inventor, industrialistinventor of the toaster
Elaine Bullard1915–2011self-taught botanistOfficial Recorder of Orkney for the Botanical Society of the British Isles for 46 years
Robert Barclayd.1973statisticianscholar of Orkney
Udny Yule1871–1951statisticianYule–Simon distribution
Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, OM, FRS1827–1912surgeonAntiseptic surgery introduced, eponymous Listerine
Andrew Smith1797–1872zoologist
Isabella Gordon1901–1978zoologistcarcinologist
James Wilson1795–1856zoologistcontributor to Encyclopædia Britannica
Malcolm Laurie1866–1932zoologistspecialist in arachnids, especially scorpions
Norman Boyd Kinnear1882–1957zoologist
William Baird1803–1872zoologistauthor of The Natural History of the British Entomostraca
John Anderson1833–1900zoologist and anatomistcurator of the Indian Museum