Royal Scottish Society of Arts

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"FRSSA" redirects here. Not to be confused with FRSSAf, a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts is a learned society in Scotland, dedicated to the study of science and technology. It was founded as The Society for the Encouragement of the Useful Arts in Scotland by Sir David Brewster in 1821 and dedicated to "the promotion of invention and enterprise". The Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1841.

For many years the promotion of invention and improvements of all sorts was the main business of the Society, and its meetings were the focus of a large and active cross-section of Edinburgh society - academics, gentry, professionals such as civil engineers and lawyers, and skilled craftsmen such as instrument makers, engravers and printers. The Society's published Transactions provide a record of changes in technology, and the Society's extensive archive (publicly accessible in the National Library of Scotland) is a valuable resource used by researchers.

In more recent times, the Society's meeting programme has been based on lectures given by expert and often distinguished speakers. The lectures cover a wide range of scientific and technical topics, but still with the original aim of keeping the membership informed about current concerns in science, engineering, medicine, and often with a topical edge.

Meetings of the Society are held in Edinburgh monthly, at 7pm on Monday evenings, from October or November to May or June. In addition, organised visits are made each year to a research, manufacturing or industrial establishment.

Presidents of the Society[edit]

Presidents of the society have been: [1]


The society awards the Makdougall Brisbane medal, founded by Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane. [2] This award is not to be confused with the similarly named award given by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Recipients have included:

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Presidents". Royal Scottish Society of Arts. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica: 11th Edition. 
  3. ^ "Story: Beverly, Arthur". Te Ara. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  4. ^