List of Scottish scientists

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This article is part of the List of Scots series

List of Scottish engineers and scientists is a list of notable Scottish scientists born in Scotland or associated with Scotland.

Scientist Lifespan Primary field Note
Thomas Addison 1881–1949 physician nephrology pioneer
James Edward Tierney Aitchison 1836–1898 botanist surgeon; collected plants in India and Afghanistan
John Aitken 183–1919 meteorologist, physicist and marine engineer inventor of the koniscope, (also known as the Aitken dust counter)
William Aiton 1731–1793 botanist
Adam Anderson 1783–1846 physicist contributor to Edinburgh Encyclopædia and Encyclopædia Britannica
Alexander Anderson 158?–162? mathematician c. 1582– c. 1620
John Anderson 1833–1900 zoologist and anatomist curator of the Indian Museum
Thomas Anderson 1832–1870 botanist director of the Calcutta Botanic Garden
William Arthur 1894–1979 mathematician
John Logie Baird 1888–1946 engineer television inventor
William Baird 1803–1872 zoologist author of The Natural History of the British Entomostraca
Ken Bairden 1943–2007 parasitologist, epidemiologist, veterinarian
Thomas Barker 1838–1907 mathematician professor of pure mathematics at Owens College
Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour 1853–1922 botanist Sherardian Professor of Botany
John Hutton Balfour 1808–1884 botanist
John Barclay 1758–1826 anatomist donor of the Barclay Collection at Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh
James Bassantin fl 16th century astronomer and mathematician author of Astronomique Discours, Lyons, 1557
Alexander Graham Bell 1847–1922 engineer, scientist telephone inventor
Eric Temple Bell 1883–1960 mathematician science fiction writer
Robert J. T. Bell 1876–1963 mathematician Professor of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Otago
James W. Black 1924–2010 physician Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1988
Joseph Black 1728–1799 scientist carbon dioxide discoverer
Robert Blair 1748–1828 astronomer inventor of the aplanatic lens
John Boyd Orr, 1st Baron Boyd-Orr 1880–1971 nutritionist Nobel Peace Prize winner
David Brewster 1781–1868 scientist Royal Scottish Society of Arts founder
Thomas Brisbane 1773–1860 astronomer
Robert Brown 1773–1858 botanist Brownian Motion discoverer
David Bruce 1855–1931 pathologist, microbiologist
Alexander Buchan 1829–1907 meteorologist, oceanographer and botanist established the weather map as the basis of weather forecasting
Elaine Bullard 1915–2011 self-taught botanist Official Recorder of Orkney for the Botanical Society of the British Isles for 46 years
Phillip Clancey 1917–2001 ornithologist ornithology pioneer
John Craig 1663–1731 mathematician Newton colleague
James Croll 1821–1890 scientist astronomical theory of 19th-century climate change, leading proponent
Alexander Crum Brown 1838–1922 chemist organic chemistry
William Cullen 1710–1790 physician, chemist
David Cuthbertson 1900–1989 physician, biochemist, medical researcher, nutritionist leading authority on metabolism
James Dewar 1842–1923 physicist low temperature, vacuum flask inventor
George Dickie 1812–1882 botanist specialist in algae
Alexander Dickson 1836–1887 botanist morphological botanist
David Drysdale 1877–1946 mathematician
James Alfred Ewing 1855–1935 physicist, engineer discoverer of hysteresis
William Fairbairn 1789–1874 engineer structural
Hugh Falconer 1808–1865 paleontologist
James Ferguson 1710–1776 astronomer, instrument maker
Alexander Fleming 1881–1955 microbiologist Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1945
Williamina Fleming 1857–1911 astronomer cataloguing of stars contributor, discoverer of the Horsehead Nebula
John Flett 1869–1947 geologist Director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain
James David Forbes 1809–1868 physicist, geologist
Professor George Forbes 1849–1936 scientist electrical engineering, hydro-electric power generation
Robert Fortune 1813–1880 botanist
John Fraser 1750-1811 botanist, plant collector
Patrick Geddes 1854–1932 biologist urban theorist
Alexander Gibson 1800–1867 botanist worked on forest conservation in India
Sir David Gill 1843–1914 astronomer astrophotography pioneer
John Goodsir 1814-1867 anatomist pioneer in the study of the cell
Isabella Gordon 1901–1978 zoologist carcinologist
Robert Graham 1786–1845 botanist Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Thomas Graham 1805–1869 chemist discovered dialysis
Robert Edmond Grant 1793–1874 biologist Swiney lecturer in geology to the British Museum
Marion Cameron Gray 1902–1979 mathematician discovered Gray graph
David Gregory 1659–1708 astronomer, mathematician Savilian Professor of Astronomy
Duncan Farquharson Gregory 1813–1844 mathematician also worked in chemistry and physics
James Gregory 1638–1675 astronomer, mathematician Gregorian reflecting telescope, first described, Robert Hooke later built
James Gregory 1832–1899 mineralogist believed claims of diamond discoveries in South Africa were false
William Gregory 1803–1858 mineralogist
James Hall 1761–1832 geologist
M R Henderson 1899–1982 botanist
Thomas Henderson 1798–1844 astronomer Alpha Centauri, first measured distance
John Hope 1725–1786 botanist botanist who had genus Hopea named after him
Thomas Charles Hope 1766–1844 chemist and physician discoverer of strontium
James Hutton 1726–1797 geologist scientific basis of geology established
Robert T. A. Innes 1861–1933 astronomer Proxima Centauri discoverer
James Ivory 1765–1842 mathematician
William Jardine 1800–1874 naturalist
George Johnston 1800–1874 naturalist also physician and mayor of Berwick
Henry Halcro Johnston 1856–1939 botanist also army surgeon and rugby union international
John Keill 1671–1721 mathematician and astronomer disciple and defender of Isaac Newton, Savilian Professor of Astronomy
Norman Boyd Kinnear 1882–1957 zoologist
Cargill Gilston Knott 1856–1922 physicist and mathematician pioneer in seismology
Johann von Lamont 1805–1879 astronomer Uranus and Saturn moon orbits calculated
Arthur Pillans Laurie 1861–1949 chemist pioneered scientific analysis of paint
Malcolm Laurie 1866–1932 zoologist specialist in arachnids, especially scorpions
John Leslie 1766–1832 mathematician, physicist heat research
Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, OM, FRS 1827–1912 surgeon antiseptic surgery introduced, eponymous Listerine
William Lochead c.1753–1815 botanist surgeon, curator of the St Vincent Botanical Garden
Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, Kt FRS 1797–1875 geologist, lawyer geology pioneer, (British), foremost of his day
John Macadam 1827–1865 botanist (Scottish-born Australian)
William McNab 1844–1889 botanist physician
William MacGillivray 1796–1852 naturalist
Sheila Scott Macintyre 1910–1960 mathematician
Colin Maclaurin 1698–1746 mathematician Maclaurin series developer
Anna MacGillivray Macleod 1917–2004 botanist, biochemist, professor of brewing
John James Rickard Macleod 1876–1935 biochemist, physiologist Nobel Prize laureate, 1923
John George Macleod 1915–2006 physician author of medical books
William Maclure 1760–1843 geologist
Alan MacMasters 1865–1927 scientist, inventor, industrialist inventor of the toaster
Sheina Marshall FRSE, FRS, OBE 1896-1977 marine biologist
Francis Masson 1741–180? botanist 1741– c. 1805
James Clerk Maxwell 1831–1879 scientist thermodynamics, electromagnetics theorist
Anderson Gray McKendrick 1876–1943 physician, epidemiologist pioneer of the use of mathematical methods in epidemiology
John Gray McKendrick 1841–1926 physiologist
Archibald Menzies 1754–1852 botanist, explorer
Philip Miller 1691–1771 botanist
Roderick Murchison 1792–1871 geologist Silurian period first described, investigated
Alexander Murray 1810–1884 geologist
James Napier 1810–1884 chemist antiquarian
John Napier 1550–1617 mathematician logarithms
William Robert Ogilvie-Grant 1863–1924 ornithologist
James Bell Pettigrew 1834–1908 naturalist Croonian Lecturer; authority on animal locomotion
Sir William Ramsay 1852–1916 chemist Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1904
William John Macquorn Rankine 1820–1872 engineer, physicist Rankine thermodynamic scale (absolute temperature), proposer
John Richardson 1787–1865 naturalist
William Roxburgh 1759–1815 botanist
John Scott Russell 1808–1882 civil engineer, naval architect solitons
Daniel Rutherford 1749–1819 chemist nitrogen element discoverer
John Scouler 1804–1871 naturalist Enicurus scouleri is named after Scouler
Sir James Young Simpson 1811–1870 physician anaesthetic chloroform discoverer, midwifery pioneer
Andrew Smith 1797–1872 zoologist
Charles Piazzi Smyth 1819–1900 astronomer Astronomer Royal for Scotland
Robert Angus Smith 1817–1884 chemist environmental chemistry, acid rain, discoverer
Mary Somerville 1780–1872 mathematician, astronomer
Matthew Stewart 1717–1785 mathematician
James Stirling 1692–1770 mathematician
John Struthers 1823–1899 anatomist
Peter Guthrie Tait 1831–1901 mathematical physicist proposer of the Tait conjectures in Knot theory
Thomas Telford 1757–1834 engineer, architect civil engineer, canal builder
D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson 1860–1948 biologist and mathematician author of On Growth and Form
Charles Wyville Thomson 1830–1882 marine zoologist chief scientist on the Challenger expedition
Thomas Thomson 1817–1878 botanist Superintendent of the Honourable East India Company's Botanic Garden at Calcutta
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin 1824–1907 mathematician, physicist, engineer
James Wallace 1684–1724 botanist participated in the Darien Scheme, and obtained plants from that area
James Watt 1736–1819 mathematician, engineer steam engine improvements contributed key stage in the Industrial Revolution
Robert Watson-Watt 1892–1973 scientist radar inventor
Joseph Wedderburn 1882–1948 mathematician
Thomas Webster 1773–1844 geologist geologist who had websterite, now normally called aluminite, named after him
Alexander Wilson 1714–1786 astronomer and meteorologist also surgeon, type-founder, and mathematician; the first scientist to record the use of kites in meteorological investigations
Alexander Wilson 1766–1813 ornithologist ornithology pioneer pre-Audubon (American)
Charles Wilson 1869–1959 physicist cloud chamber inventor
Patrick Wilson 1743–1811 astronomer type-founder, mathematician and meteorologist
Thomas Wright 1809–1884 geologist also physician
William Wright 1735–1819 botanist botanist who had genera Wrightia and Wrightea named after him
James 'Paraffin' Young 1811–1883 chemist
Dr William Alexander Young 1889–1928 physician, yellow fever researcher posthumously awarded the Médaille des Epidémies du ministère de la France d'outre-mer, 1929