Scotland

James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

On May 17, 1861, Scottish physicist Sir James Clerk Maxwell presented the very first colour photograph at the Royal Institution. The photograph showed a tartan ribbon and was made by Thomas Sutton according to the three-colour method proposed by Maxwell already in 1855. „Die Menschen empfinden im Allgemeinen eine große Freude an der Farbe. Das Auge bedarf ihrer, wie es des Lichtes bedarf.“ (“People generally take great pleasure in color. The eye…
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J. M. Barrie and the Boy who wouldn’t grow up

J. M. Barrie and the Boy who wouldn’t grow up

On May 9, 1860, Scotish author and playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet was born. Barrie is best remembered for being the creator of Peter Pan in his novel “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up“, a “fairy play” about an ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. “All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they…
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Andrew Meikle and the Threshing Machine

Andrew Meikle and the Threshing Machine

On May 5, 1719, Scottish mechanical engineer Andrew Meikle was born. Meikle is best known for inventing the threshing machine, a device used to remove the outer husks from grains of wheat. The mechanization of this process took much of the drudgery out of farm labour. A Brief History of the Threshing Machine Threshing refers to the mechanical process of separating the grains during the harvest of threshed crops. The straw (long…
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Sir James Mackenzie and the Study of Cardiac Arrhythmias

Sir James Mackenzie and the Study of Cardiac Arrhythmias

On April 12, 1853, Scottish cardiologist Sir James Mackenzie was born. A pioneer in the study of cardiac arrhythmias, he was first to make simultaneous records of the arterial and venous pulses to evaluate the condition of the heart, a procedure that laid the foundation for much future research. James Mackenzie was apprenticed to a chemist when he was 14 and even though he was offered a partnership with the company, he preferred…
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Charles Wyville Thomson and the Challenger Expedition

Charles Wyville Thomson and the Challenger Expedition

  On March 5, 1830, Scottish natural historian and marine zoologist Charles Wyville Thomson was born. Thomson served as the chief scientist on the famous Challenger expedition surveying and exploring the oceans for more than 130.000km between 1872 and 1876. Thomson‘s work there revolutionized oceanography. Charles Wyville Thomson – Early Life Thomson was born at Bonsyde, in Linlithgow, West Lothian, the son of Andrew Thomson, a surgeon in the service of the…
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James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

In November 1638, Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory was born. Gregory described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. James Gregory – Youth and Education James Gregory was born at Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, UK, the youngest of the 3 children of John Gregory, an Episcopalian Church of Scotland minister. Initially he was educated at…
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David Brewster and the Invention of the Kaleidoscope

David Brewster and the Invention of the Kaleidoscope

On July 10, 1817, Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor and writer Sir David Brewster received a patent for his kaleidoscope. “kaleidoscope” is derived from Ancient Greek and denotes something like “observation of beautiful forms.” It consists of a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other creates a colorful pattern, due to the…
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Macquorn Rankine and the Laws of Thermodynamics

Macquorn Rankine and the Laws of Thermodynamics

On July 5, 1820, Scottish mechanical engineer William John Macquorn Rankine was born. He was a founding contributor, with Rudolf Clausius and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), to the science of thermodynamics, particularly focusing on the first of the three thermodynamic laws. “Discrepancy between theory and practice, which in sound physical and mechanical science is a delusion, has a real existence in the minds of men; and that fallacy, through rejected by their…
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James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

On June 3, 1726, Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist James Hutton was born. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism, a fundamental principle of geology, which explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a proper science, and thus he is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology“. “The past history of our globe must be explained…
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Williamina Fleming – Harvard Computer and Astronomer

Williamina Fleming – Harvard Computer and Astronomer

On May 15, 1857, Scottish astronomer Williamina Paton Fleming was born. She helped develop a common designation system for stars and catalogued thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena. Fleming is especially noted for her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888. Williamina Fleming – Early Years Williamina Paton Fleming was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1857. She attended a public school and became a pupil-teacher when she was 14. She entered…
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