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BRAID, James (1795 – 1860)

Surgeon and pioneer in the field of Hypnosis. First used the term ‘Neurohypnosis‘ which was later shortened to simply ‘Hypnosis‘.

CLEGHORN, George (1716 – 1794)

Army surgeon who discovered that quinine bark acted as a cure for Malaria, a form of which was endemic in Britain at that time.


CRAIG, John (Died 1620) Physician

Born in Edinburgh, he was physician to James VI of Scotland, and travelled south with him when he took the English throne.

CURRIE, James (1756-1805)

Physician, b. Dumfriesshire, Scotland (1756-1805). His work on water based treatments may be considered to be the scientific base of Hydropathy.

DUNCAN, William Henry (1805-1863)

Born in Liverpool of two Scottish parents, Dr Duncan as he was known, was educated in Scotland and qualified as a medical doctor at Edinburgh University. He then returned to Liverpool where he eventually became Britain’s first Medical Officer of Health in 1847.

FINLAY, Carlos Juan (1833-1915) Yellow Fever


Born in Cuba, of Scots descent on his father’s side. In 1881 he proposed that yellow fever was carried and transmitted by a mosquito. He later identified the genus Aedes as the transmitting organism. Twenty years passed before his proposals were finally proved valid by the Walter Reed Commission of 1900.

FLEMING,Sir Alexander FRSE, FRS, FRCS (1881-1955) Penicillin

Born at Lochfield, Ayrshre, Scotland. He discovered penicillin, the most effective life saving drug the world has known. Joint Nobel Prize winner 1945.

FYFE, Dr Lorna (Portobello Honey)

Dr Fyfe, a microbiologist and immunologist at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, has discovered that her home town honey from Portobello is as effective at killing bacteria as the world famous Manuka honey from New Zealand. It is currently used extensively around the world against antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA and E.coli. She is now analysing different strains of honey from around Scotland to compare their effectiveness.

GOW, David (Inventor of Worlds First Bionic Hand)

Born 1957 at Dunfries, Scotland, and studied mechanical engineering at Edinburgh University. In 1998 he fitted fellow Scot Campbell Aird with the world’s first electric shoulder. In 2002 he founded Touch EMAS Ltd. He invented the i-Limb and ProDigits partial hand system (now i-Limb Digits).  His company became Touch Bionics in 2005.

Iain Donald (1910-1987) Ultrasound

Pioneered the use of ultrasound for diagnosing foetal progress during pregnancy. Said to be the biggest advance in the history of obstetrics.

INGLIS, Elsie Maud (1864-1917) Doctor & Suffragist

Born in India to Scottish parents. During WW1 she sent teams to France, Serbia and Russia and was very active in the care of women in Scotland, opening a hospice for poor women and a midwifery resource centre in Edinburgh which was the precursor of the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital.

James Lind FRSE FRCPE (1716-1794) Scurvy

A Scottish physician, he was the first to study the effect of citrus fruits on scurvy, a disease which took the lives of thousands of sailors. These experiments in 1747 were among the first clinical experiments in the history of medicine, and eventually resulted in the complete eradication of the disease. Other experiments resulted in the elimination of typhus from the Royal Navy. He also discovered that fresh water could be obtained by distilling sea water.

John Macintyre FRSE (1857-1928) X-rays

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, and educated at Glasgow University. He pioneered the use of X-rays for diagnosis and treatment of patients, and set up the world’s first radiology department at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1896.

MACLEOD, John James Rickard FRS (1876-1935) Discovery of Insulin

Born in Cluny, by Dunkeld, Scotland. He was a biochemist and physiologist who in 1923 received the Nobel Prize for the co-discovery of insulin with Frederick Banting.

MAITLAND, Charles (1668-1748) First inoculation in Britain against smallpox.

In 1718 as doctor to the British embassy in Constantinople he supervised the inoculation, by a Turkish lady, of the 5 year old son on a female embassy employee. In 1721 this Scottish physician performed the same exercise on the 4 year old daughter of the same woman. The first inoculation to take place in Britain.

MANSON, Sir Patrick (1844-1922) GCMG, MD, FRCP, LLD, FRS

The father of  Tropical Medicine. Founded the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1899. First president of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1907.

Robert Liston (1794-1847) Surgeon

Born in Ecclesmachan, West Lothian, and educated at Edinburgh University. He became the first Professor of Clinical Surgery at University College Hospital, London, in 1835, and went on to perform the first operation in Europe using ether as a general anaesthetic.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG)

Established 1599 by Peter Lowe after receiving a Royal Charter by James VI.

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)

In 1505, the Barber Surgeons were formally incorporated as a Craft Guild in the city. The charter of privileges imposed crucially important duties. The most important of these was that were that apprentices should be literate, that all masters  should have full knowledge of anatomy and surgical procedures, and that apprentices would be tested at the end of their training. They were granted a Royal Charter by James IV in 1506. All clauses are still relevant to surgical practise and the college today.

Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870) Obstetrician

Born in Bathgate, Midlothian, and educated at Edinburgh University. He discovered the anaesthetic qualities of Chloroform and pioneered its use internationally in surgery and obstetrics.

Sir Patrick Manson (1844-1922) Parasitologist

Born in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, and educated at Aberdeen University. Much honoured in his lifetime for his work on the role of mosquitoes in the spread of various diseases, including the mosquito-malaria theory, eventually proved by Sir Ronald Ross in 1898. Founder of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, which became the University of Hong Kong, and the London  School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He became the first president of the the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1907.

Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932) Parasitologist and Nobel Prize Winner

Born in India where his father was a Scottish general in the British Indian Army. He joined the Indian Medical Service following studies in London and commenced his study of Malaria in 1892. He eventually proved beyond doubt, what had originally been postulated by Patrick Manson, that the mosquito was responsible for the spread of malaria. Many honours followed including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

The first medical school in North America

The Medical School of the College of Philadelphia. Founded in 1765 by doctors John Morgan and John Shippen, both American medical graduates of Edinburgh University. While there Morgan was a pupil of the great William Cullen.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress