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BUCHAN, Alexander FRS FRSE (1829-1907)

b Kinesswood, Perth & Kinross. Meteorologist, Secretary of the Scottish Meteorological Society for 47 years, and editor of its journal. Was first recipient of the Symons Gold Medal of the Royal Meteorological Society. Invented the isobar and considered by many to be the true father of Meteorology.

CHALMERS, James (1782 – 1853)

Dundee Inventor, Bookseller and Newspaper publisher. Invented the adhesive postage stamp, which made Rowland Hill’s Penny Postal service a practical proposition.


City Observatory

Situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, it is also known as the Calton Hill Observatory.

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.


Coats Observatory, Paisley

Funded by Thomas Coats of the thread manufacturing dynasty, it opened in 1883 and was initially operated by the Paisley Philosophical Institution which was founded in 1808.

COOK, William Douglas (1884-1967) Botanist

Diaspora b. New Zealand to Scottish mother and father. Founder of  Eastwood Arboretum at Nagapata, named after the house where his mother grew up in Scotland, and now the national arboretum of New Zealand. Also co-founder of Pukeiti rhododendron garden near New Plymouth.

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.

CROLL, James. FRS (1821-1890)

Born near Wolfhill, Perthshire. Developed theories on climate dynamics and geology. His theory of multiple ice ages was eventually proved by Milankovitch in 1976.

CRUM BROWN, Alexander, FRSE, FRS. (1838 – 1922)

An organic chemist, born in Edinburgh. He studied in London and Leipzig before returning to Edinburgh in 1863, and holding the chair of Chemistry there until his death. That chair now bears his name. He devised the system of representing chemical compounds in diagrammatic form, with connecting lines representing bonds. His investigations into a mixture of organic materials contained within sedimentary rocks caused him to name them Kerogen. These substances are of great interest today because of their ability to give up enormous quantities of light and heavy hydrocarbons. He also discovered the carbon double bond of ethylene which has had enormous implications for the modern plastics industry.

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.


A Geographer and the first Hydrographer of the Royal Navy. Designer of the Admiralty Chart and directly responsible for Cook’s voyage to the yet undiscovered Australia.

DEWAR, Sir James (1842 – 1923)

Physicist and Chemist, born in Kincardine, Fife. Inventor of the vacuum flask.


DONALDSON, Prof Gordon Bryce FRSE (1941-2012) Physicist

Born in Edinburgh, he was professor of applied physics at the University of Strathclyde, and a leading expert in the design and application of superconducting devices, including his invention of gradiometers which are widely used for measuring tiny magnetic fields. These instruments are based on SQIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices) whose usefulness he developed and championed. A figure of world stature in his chosen field.

DOUGLAS, David (1798 – 1834)

Adventurous Botanist. Born in Scone (Perthshire). Discovered more than 200 new plant species in North America, including the Douglas Fir. Died from injuries received from wild bull having fallen into bull pit in Hawaii.


DUNCAN, Henry 1774-1846

Banker & Geologist.

Founded the world’s first commercial savings bank and made an important advance in geological science. In 1828 he presented a paper, eventually published in 1831, describing fossil footprints he had discovered. It was the first scientific report of fossilised tracks.

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.

FARKHVARSON (FARQUHARSON), Andrei Danilovich (1675-1739)

Henry (Harry) Farquharson was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer at the University of Aberdeen. At the start of the 18th century, he was employed by Peter the Great to establish and administer a mathematics and navigation school, principally for the Russian Navy. Under his guidance, and with his assistance, Tsar Peter wrote the curriculum for the school.

FINDLATER, John FRMS (1926-2013)

Born Motherwell, Scotland. One of the UK’s leading meteorologists, three times decorated for his research. The meteorological  effects of monsoon winds blowing from the Horn of Africa towards India are named after him.

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.

FORBES, David McHattie. (1863 – 1937)

Scottish botanist. Spent most of his working life in Hawaii.

FORBES, James David FRS, FRSE, FGS (1809-1868)

Born Edinburgh. Physicist and Glaciologist. Worked extensively on conduction of heat and seismology. Invented the seismometer in 1842.

FORREST, George (1873-1932) Botanist

Born Falkirk, Scotland. The foremost collector of plants from south-west China. Made seven trips to Yunnan and brought back around 31,000 plant specimens including numerous previously unknown plant species.

FORTUNE, Robert (Botanist)

Born Berwickshire, Scotland (1812-1880). He was a major plant hunter and introduced hundreds of new shrubs, trees and flower to Europe. Is famed for his illicit removal from China of their strains of tea plants and the subsequent foundation of  the Darjeeling tea industry in India.

FRASER, John, FLS, FRHS. (1750-1811) Botanist

He was a Scottish explorer and botanist who collected plant specimens for Csar Catherine of Russia in 1795, Paul I of Russia in 1798 and Dowager Empress Maria Feodoronova in 1806. He created an important herbarium which was eventually bought by the Linnean Society.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress