Scottish Scientists Who Changed the World

Glasgow_blog_imageThe ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV in Glasgow is right around the corner. With Scotland on our minds, we thought it’d be fitting to look at some of the greatest Scottish scientists, inventors, and engineers. In spite of being a relatively small country, Scotland has produced a group of prolific and esteemed scientists. Take a look at our list and join us in Glasgow, July 26-31.

John Logie Baird (1888-1946)
Engineer, Inventor
Baird was one of the inventors of the mechanical television and was the first person to publicly demonstrate the color television system.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Engineer, Scientist
One of Scotland’s most eminent scientists, Bell is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Bell established the Volta Laboratory and Bureau in the late 19th century, which would eventually become known as Bell Labs. (Check out our podcast on Bell Labs!)

Joseph Black (1728-1799)
Chemist, Physician
Black is best known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. Chemistry buildings at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow are named after him.

James Croll (1821-1890)
Scientist
Croll developed a theory of climate change based on changes in the Earth’s orbit in the 19th century. While many people discussed Croll’s work, his theory was generally disbelieved. The basic concepts behind his theory were further developed in the late 20th century, which became generally known as Milankovitch cycles.

George Forbes (1849-1936)
Electrical Engineer
Forbes was involved in the manufacturing of carbon filaments and arc lamps. He also experimented in using carbon for the brushes in electrical motors, which advocated carbon as a collector for rotating electrical machines making it the universal choice in electricity generation to this day.

Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884)
Chemist
Smith investigated a huge array of environmental issues, including air pollution. His seminal research in 1852 yielded the discovery of what came to be known as acid rain.

Charles Wilson (1869-1956)
Physicist
From his interest in physics and chemistry, Wilson invented the cloud chamber. The cloud chamber is a particle detector used for detecting ionizing radiation, which earned him the Nobel Prize in physics.

Make sure to join us in Glasgow this July! The deadline for early-bird registration is June 15, 2015.

Register today!

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0 Comments

  1. George Dionne

    June 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for dedicating all your lives to helping this world. And thanks for mentioning them. We cannot remember all their names, but at least we could appreciate their inventions.

  2. Brian Borglum

    June 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    What about James Clerk Maxwell?

    1. Rob Gerth

      June 10, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Good call. Hard to get everyone. More suggestions welcome! Wikipedia says: James Clerk Maxwell FRS FRSE (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as manifestations of the same phenomenon. Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism have been called the “second great unification in physics” after the first one realised by Isaac Newton.

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