Alexander Fleming was a Scottish microbiologist and physician. He is credited with discovering penicillin, the world's first effective antibiotic substance; a discovery that changed the course of history. He also discovered lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme which forms part of the innate immune system. In 1999, Fleming was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century list.
Scottish surgeon Robert Liston worked in an era when anesthesia wasn’t invented. He could complete amputations within minutes, thus saving the lives of many when the speed of the surgery made the difference between life and death. Later, he became the first European surgeon to operate under anesthesia.
Psychiatrist R. D. Laing was known for his different perspective on mental illnesses, particularly psychosis. Known as anti-psychiatry, his theory of resolving mental ailments opposed the age-old shock therapy. His written works include The Divided Self. He was also a talented poet and had fathered 10 children by four women.
John Hunter was a Scottish surgeon remembered for his efforts to study the human anatomy through investigation and experimentation. An early advocate of scientific method in medicine, Hunter was considered one of the most prominent surgeons of his generation. He is also remembered for paying for the body of Charles Byrne and displaying the skeletal remains in his Hunterian Museum.
James Lind revolutionized medical science by recommending lemon juice and citrus fruits as remedies for scurvy in British Navy officials. Though born into a Scottish merchant family, he ended up becoming a successful naval surgeon. His research also included the prevention of typhus among seamen.
Best known for his picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett was born into a family of lawyers and soldiers and initially attended medical training. Some believe he quit university without a degree, while it is also said he had served as a navy surgeon.
Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson is remembered as the first to use chloroform as an anesthetic in medicine. A University of Edinburgh professor, he was later made a queen’s physician in Scotland. He also received the title of a baronet. His research also included leprosy and fetal pathology.
The man behind the discoveries of ailments such as Addison's disease and Addison’s (pernicious) anemia, British physician Thomas Addison also co-wrote the first book on the effect of poisonous agents on the human body. He plunged into depression in his later years and eventually committed suicide.
Apart from being a surgeon, John Rae later became famous as an explorer of the Canadian Arctic. Initially a resident surgeon at the Moose Factory post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, he later explored places such as Victoria Island. He later moved to London and was made a Royal Society Fellow.
Charles Bell was a Scottish surgeon, physiologist, anatomist, and neurologist. He was also an artist and philosophical theologian. He discovered the difference between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord. He is also known for describing Bell's palsy. He played a key role in the creation of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School.
Best known for discovering nitrogen gas, Scottish chemist Daniel Rutherford was also initially a practicing physician. A skilled botanist, he also taught botany at the University of Edinburgh. His other inventions include the maximum and minimum thermometers. He also co-founded the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Apart from being a prominent Scottish physician, William Cullen was also a main pillar of the Scottish Enlightenment. Not only did he treat luminaries such as philosopher David Hume, but he also treated the poor free of cost. A University of Edinburgh professor of medicine, he was also a Royal Society Fellow.
The Father of Hypnosis, James Braid used hypnotherapy as a treatment for scores of ailments such as paralysis and rheumatism. His research included the possibility of hypnosis as a tool to reduce pain during surgery. His methods were ridiculed initially but later paved way for the French school of neuropsychiatry.
A trans man, Sir Ewan Forbes of Craigievar, was initially raised as a girl and named Elizabeth. He later underwent medical treatment and presented himself as a man. He later fought a 3-year legal battle with his cousin for the title of the 11th Baronet of Craigievar and won the case.
Remembered for his advocacy of randomized controlled trials in medicine, Scottish physician Archie Cochrane was one of the first to rely on evidence-based medicine. He had also been a member of the British medical unit at the Spanish Civil War and was a medical officer during World War II.
Physician William Hunter is remembered for his efforts in making obstetrics a branch of medicine. After observing medical students in France, he introduced the use of cadavers for dissection in Britain. The Hunterian Museum in Scotland started with a collection of his belongings, including books and works of art.
The third son of physician and botanist John Hope, Thomas Charles Hope began his career teaching chemistry and medicine and eventually chaired medicine at the University of Glasgow. He is remembered for discovering the element strontium and also explained why icebergs float. He eventually became a Fellow of The Royal Society.
While he gained fame as a playwright under the pseudonym James Bridie, Osborne Henry Mavor was also a qualified physician who had served in both the World Wars. Interestingly, he wrote his first play, The Sunlight Sonata, using another pseudonym, Mary Henderson. He also co-established the Citizens’ Theatre.
Best remembered as the founder of the domain of tropical medicine, parasitologist Sir Patrick Manson also had a degree in law. He practiced medicine in places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China and was the man behind the formation of the University of Hong Kong. He was later knighted, too.
Apart from being a scientist and physician, John Boyd Orr also conducted ground-breaking research on nutrition. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was known for his campaigns to end world hunger, had also served the British army and navy as a medical officer. He was later knighted, too.
Apart from being a naval surgeon, John Richardson also made a named for himself as an explorer of the Canadian Arctic coast. He was also a talented author of natural history. His accurate surveys eventually got him knighted. Various species of reptiles and mammals have been named in his honor.
The man who penned the first published study of pathology in English, Matthew Baillie was an Oxford-educated physician who was later also named a Fellow of The Royal Society. He also inherited the estates of his physician uncle William Hunter and taught at his medical school for a while.
Gilbert Blane was a Scottish physician best remembered for his association with the Royal Navy. Initially appointed as Lord Rodney's physician aboard HMS Sandwich, Blane worked hard to ameliorate the health of sailors by introducing health reform in the Navy; he revamped the diet and ensured the fleet took proper sanitary precautions.
The son of surgeon John Munro, Alexander Monro followed in his father’s footsteps and became a leading surgeon and anatomist of his day. He, his son, and then his grandson held the Edinburgh University Chair of Anatomy for a collective 126 years. He was also named a Fellow of The Royal Society.
Alexander Monro was a Scottish physician, anatomist, and medical educator. Born into the famous Monro of Auchenbowie family, Alexander is best remembered for his work describing the lymphatic system. He spent most of his life as a lecturer and is credited with teaching several future physicians, including abolitionist and naval physician Thomas Trotter.
Robert Sibbald was a Scottish antiquary and physician best known for his study of whales. Sibbald was the first person to give a scientific description of the blue whale, which was originally named after him. Robert Sibbald is also remembered for his association with the University of Edinburgh where he served as the first professor of medicine, starting from 1685.
Watson Cheyne was a Scottish bacteriologist and surgeon best remembered for pioneering the implementation of antiseptic surgical methods in the UK. Cheyne is also known for his association with King's College Hospital, where he served as a surgeon from 1880 to 1917. From 1900 to 1901, he served as a consulting surgeon during the Boer War in South Africa.
The son of a farmer, James Mackenzie was initially gearing up to be a chemist but later decided to study medicine instead. A pioneering cardiologist, he was the first to differentiate between dangerous and harmless arrhythmias. He was eventually knighted and made a Fellow of The Royal Society, too.
The pioneer of military medicine, British physician Sir John Pringle also taught at the University of Edinburgh. He had also served as a physician to King George III of Britain and the Duke of Cumberland. Apart from coining the term influenza, he also identified various types of dysentery as a single disease.
Thomas Stewart Traill had donned many hats. Initially a practicing physician, he was also interested in zoology and helped John James Audubon publish The Birds of America. He was also a chemist and a meteorologist and spent his life teaching at the University of Edinburgh. He also edited Encyclopædia Britannica’s 8th edition.
Lauder Brunton is best remembered for discovering the use of amyl nitrate to reduce the pain of angina pectoris and for establishing pharmacology as a serious domain of science. He had, in his later life, converted to Islam and changed his name to Jalaluddin Lauder Brunton.