Famous Scottish Scientists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Scottish Scientists

 1 Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming
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Famous As: Biologist, Pharmacologist, Discovered Penicillin
Birthdate: August 6, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lochfield, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: March 11, 1955

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.

 2 James Maxwell

James Maxwell
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Famous As: Mathematician & Physicist
Birthdate: June 13, 1831
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 5, 1879

Scottish physicist James Maxwell’s contributions included the formulation of the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation and the production of the first light-fast color photograph. His Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution explored the kinetic theory of gases. He has also written poems and was an Elder of the Church of Scotland.

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 3 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 4 Robert Chambers

Robert Chambers
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 10, 1802
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Peebles, Scotland
Died: March 17, 1871
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 5 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell
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Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 6 Robert Morison

Robert Morison
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Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: 1620 AD
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland
Died: November 10, 1683
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 7 James Watt

James Watt
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Famous As: Inventor of Steam Engine
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1819
Eighteenth-century Scottish inventor James Watt developed the Newcomen steam engine, by inventing the Watt steam engine, which brough about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the world. He also co-owned the firm Boulton and Watt and laid down concepts such as horsepower and the watt, the SI unit of power.
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 8 John Leslie

John Leslie
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Famous As: presenter
Birthdate: February 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh

 9 John Napier

John Napier
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Famous As: Inventor of Logarithms
Birthdate: February 1, 1550
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Merchiston Tower, Edinburgh
Died: April 4, 1617

John Napier was a Scottish mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He is credited with introducing logarithms as a means of simplifying calculations. He also invented Napier's bones, a manually-operated calculating device. In addition to his interest in mathematics, John Napier was also known for his skills as a magician; it is said that he dabbled in necromancy and alchemy.

 10 James Hutton

James Hutton
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: June 3, 1726
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: March 26, 1797

 11 Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford
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Famous As: Civil Engineer
Birthdate: August 9, 1757
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Died: September 2, 1834

Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford had begun his career as a mason at 14, having lost his father in infancy. A self-taught architect, he was responsible for building many structures, including the Caledonian Canal and the Menai Suspension Bridge. Named The Colossus of Roads, he symbolized the Scottish Enlightenment.

 12 Patrick Geddes

Patrick Geddes
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Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1932

 13 Colin Maclaurin

Colin Maclaurin
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Famous As: Edinburgh
Birthdate: February 1, 1698
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Argyll
Died: June 14, 1746

 14 Thomas Graham

Thomas Graham
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 21, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: September 16, 1869

 15 Daniel Rutherford

Daniel Rutherford
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Famous As: botanist, chemist
Birthdate: November 3, 1749
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: November 15, 1819

 16 Sir James W. Black

Sir James W. Black
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Famous As: Pharmacologist
Birthdate: June 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Uddingston, United Kingdom
Died: March 22, 2010

Sir James W. Black was a Scottish pharmacologist and physician. Black, who became interested in the study of the human heart and its reaction to adrenaline, developed a beta-blocker named propranolol to treat heart diseases. He is also credited with developing cimetidine, a drug used to cure stomach ulcers. He was honored with the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

 17 Michael Scot

Michael Scot
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Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 1175 AD
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: 1232 AD

 18 Thomas Brisbane

Thomas Brisbane
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Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: July 23, 1773
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: January 27, 1860

 19 David Douglas

David Douglas
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Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: June 25, 1799
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scone, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: July 12, 1834

 20 James Gregory

James Gregory
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Famous As: mathematician, astronomer, inventor,university teacher
Birthdate: October 31, 1638
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Drumoak
Died: September 30, 1675

 21 Naomi Mitchison

Naomi Mitchison
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 1, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: January 11, 1999

 22 D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson
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Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: May 2, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: June 21, 1948

 23 Roderick Murchison

Roderick Murchison
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 22, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Muir of Ord, Scotland
Died: October 22, 1871

 24 William Hunter

William Hunter
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 23, 1718
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Long Calderwood, Scotland
Died: March 30, 1783

 25 James Stagg

James Stagg
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Famous As: Meteorologist
Birthdate: June 30, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Died: June 23, 1975

 26 Hugh Miller

Hugh Miller
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: October 10, 1802
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cromarty, Scotland
Died: December 24, 1856

 27 Thomas Charles Hope

Thomas Charles Hope
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 21, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: June 13, 1844

 28 Sir Patrick Manson

Sir Patrick Manson
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 3, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 9, 1922

 29 John Claudius Loudon

John Claudius Loudon
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Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: April 8, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambuslang, Scotland
Died: December 14, 1843

 30 Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd

Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd
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Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: October 2, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cathcart, Glasgow, Scotland
Died: January 10, 1997

 31 James Young (Chemist)

James Young Chemist
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 13, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: May 13, 1883

 32 Patrick Matthew

Patrick Matthew
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Famous As: Agriculturalist
Birthdate: October 20, 1790
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: June 8, 1874

 33 Charles Wyville Thomson

Charles Wyville Thomson
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Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: March 5, 1830
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bonsyde, Scotland
Died: March 10, 1882

 34 James David Forbes

James David Forbes
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: April 20, 1809
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 31, 1868

 35 Peter Tait

Peter Tait
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 28, 1831
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dalkeith, Scotland
Died: July 4, 1901

 36 Archibald Geikie

Archibald Geikie
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: December 28, 1835
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 10, 1924

 37 Sir John Leslie, 4th Baronet

Sir John Leslie, 4th Baronet
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 10, 1766
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lower Largo, Scotland
Died: November 3, 1832

 38 Archibald Scott Couper

Archibald Scott Couper
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 31, 1831
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kirkintilloch, Scotland
Died: March 11, 1892

 39 John Goodsir

John Goodsir
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Famous As: Anatomist
Birthdate: March 20, 1814
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Anstruther, Scotland
Died: March 6, 1867

 40 Malcolm Longair

Malcolm Longair
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 18, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland

 41 Robert Sibbald

Robert Sibbald
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 15, 1641
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 9, 1722

 42 Sir Andrew Noble, 1st Baronet

Sir Andrew Noble, 1st Baronet
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: September 13, 1831
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greenock, Scotland
Died: October 22, 1915

 43 Francis Maitland Balfour

Francis Maitland Balfour
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Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: November 10, 1851
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland,
Died: July 19, 1882

 44 Robert Simson

Robert Simson
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Famous As: Mathematician1768
Birthdate: October 14, 1687
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: October 1, 1768

 45 Balfour Stewart

Balfour Stewart
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 1, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 19, 1887

 46 Sir David Gill

Sir David Gill
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: June 12, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland
Died: January 24, 1914

 47 Sir James Hall, 4th Baronet

Sir James Hall, 4th Baronet
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: January 17, 1761
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dunglass, Scotland
Died: June 23, 1832

 48 Thomas Henderson

Thomas Henderson
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: December 28, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: November 23, 1844

 49 John Aitken

John Aitken
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Famous As: Meteorologist
Birthdate: September 18, 1839
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Died: November 14, 1919

 50 Watson Cheyne

Watson Cheyne
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Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: December 14, 1852
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hobart, Australia
Died: April 19, 1932