Scotland, science and this year’s Festival

Famous Scottish scientists – (Top, from left) Lord Kelvin, James Hutton, James Watt, Alexander Graham Bell, Joseph Black, John Napier, John Logie Baird, Robert Watson-Watt, Alexander Fleming and James Clerk Maxwell.
Thanks to the National Library of Scotland for compiling this image.

Scotland is no stranger to good science. Quite the opposite, a quick internet search will flood your screen with an overwhelming amount of revolutionary discoveries and theories, revealing a country whose history is deeply interwoven with that of contemporary science’s own development. Such an abundance of feats would be an impressive amount for any country, but is even more so when you consider Scotland’s relatively tiny size (just over 5million in 2010, 1.6 million in 1801). There is clearly something special in the Scottish character that has allowed inquisition, discovery and innovation to all flourish, and as such Aberdeen provides a worthy home for this year’s British Science Festival. From mathematics and philosophy to technology and engineering, Scottish scientists have done it all, and there are more than a few participants at this year’s Festival that would relish a comparison to some of the fabled greats. This series of posts will explore a few such parallels. Continue reading