Robert Adam was a Scottish architect and designer. He was born in Kirkcaldy in 1728 and died in 1792. He was highly prolific and successful in both Scotland and England, he supervised the furnishing of his buildings down to the last detail, creating a distinctively elegant and highly influential style of interior decoration. In 1812 the architect Sir John Soane wrote: 'the light and elegant ornaments, the varied compartments in the ceilings of Mr Adam, imitated from Ancient Works in the Baths and Villas of the Romans, were soon applied in designs for chairs, tables, carpets, and in every other species of furniture.' Robert Adam gave work to a number of outstanding craftsmen, and Angelica Kauffmann and her husband Antonio Zucchi were among the artists who painted decorative panels for his interiors (examples by Zucchi are at 20 Portman Square, London, formerly the Courtauld Institute of Art). About 9, 000 of Adam's drawings are in the Soane Museum in London.
Arrol, Sir William
Sir William Arrol was a Scottish engineer. He was born in 1839 and died in 1913. In 1868 he founded the firm of William Arrol and Company which was responsible for the Forth Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. In 1890 William Arrol was knighted and from 1895 until 1906 sat in Parliament as Liberal Unionist member for South Ayrshire.
Baird, John Logie
John Logie Baird was a Scottish scientist. He pioneered television. He was born in 1888 and died in 1946. Invented tv, 3-D and large screen tv. Patented fibre optics.
Barrie, Sir James M.
Peter Pan is a children's play written by J M Barrie (1860 - 1937) and first produced in 1904, it was a popular hit and established J M Barrie as a top playwright of the era. It featured actress Maude Adams, who had starred in several previous J M Barrie plays and joined him in a stage partnership.
Bell, Alexander Graham
Alexander Graham Bell was a Scottish inventor. He was born in Edinburgh in 1847 and died in 1922. He was educated at Edinburgh and in Germany, and settled in Canada in 1870. In 1872 he went to the United States and introduced for the education of deaf-mutes the system of visible speech contrived by his father Alexander Melville Bell. He became professor of vocal physiology in Boston University, and exhibited his telephone, designed and partly constructed some years before, at the Philadelphia exhibition in 1876.
Bell, Sir Charles
Sir Charles Bell was a Scottish surgeon. He was born in 1774 at Edinburgh and died in 1842. In 1799 he became a fellow of the Edinburgh College of Surgeons before removing to London in 1804, and becoming surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital in 1812, and professor of anatomy and surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1824. In 1836 he returned to Edinburgh as professor of surgery at Edinburgh University. He discovered the distinct function of the nerves and in 1804 contributed his account of the nervous system to his brother John Bell's 'Anatomy of the Human Body'. He was knighted in 1831.
Bell, Rev Patrick
Invented the original reaping machine which directly led to the modern combine harvester. (1800 - 1869)
Joseph Black was a Scottish chemist. He was born in 1728 at Bordeaux and died in 1799. He was educated at Glasgow University and studied chemistry under Dr. Cullen. In 1754 he was made Doctor of Medicine at Edinburgh, his thesis being on the nature of the causticity of lime and the alkalies, which he demonstrated to be due to the absence of the carbonic acid present in limestone, etc. In 1756 he extended and republished this thesis, and was appointed professor of medicine and lecturer on chemistry at Glasgow in succession to Dr. Cullen, whom he succeeded also in the Edinburgh chair in 1766. The discovery of carbonic acid is of interest not only as having preceded that of the other gases made by Priestley, Cavendish, and others, but as having preceded in its method the explanation given by Lavoisier of the part played by oxygen in combustion. His fame, however, chiefly rests on his theory of 'latent heat, ' 1757 to 1763.
James Braid was a Scottish professional golfer. He was born in 1870 and died in 1950. He was the first man to win the Open championship five times and was a founder member of the Professional Golfers Association, whose match-play championship he won four times.
Brewster, Sir David
Sir David Brewster was a British natural philosopher. He was born at Jedburgh in 1781 and died in 1868. He was educated at Edinburgh University for the church, but was attracted by the lectures of Robison and Playfair to science. In 1807 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the mathematical chair at St Andrews, but became in the same year MA of Cambridge, LLD. of Aberdeen, and member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, to the Transactions of which he contributed important papers on the polarization of light.
In 1808 he became editor of the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, and in 1819, in conjunction with Jameson, founded the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, of which he was sole editor from 1824 until 1832. David Brewster was one of the founders of the British Association, and its president in 1850. In 1832 he was knighted and pensioned, and both before and after this time his services to science obtained throughout Europe the most honourable recognition. From 1838 to 1859 he was principal of the united colleges of St Leonard's and St Salvador at St Andrews, and in the latter year was chosen principal of the University of Edinburgh - an office which he held until his death in 1868.
Among his inventions were the 'polyzonal lens' (introduced into British lighthouses in 1835), the kaleidoscope, and the improved stereoscope. His chief works are a Treatise on the Kaleidoscope published in 1829; Letters on Natural Magic published in 1831; Treatise on Optics (1831); More Worlds Than One (1854) and biographies of Euler, Newton, Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Kepler.
Brisbane, Sir Thomas
Soldier and Astronomer, born in Largs, Ayrshire. Governor-General of New South Wales, Australia. Set up an observatory and catalogued more than 7000 stars. The city of Brisbane (Australia) is named after him. (1773 - 1860)
Politician and a founding father of Canada, born and educated in Edinburgh. As an Ontario politician, he favoured a federation of the British Colonies in North America and spoke against the French Canadians, developing the deep divisions which persist today. (1818 - 1880)
Dr James Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister born in Govan but moved to Kirkcaldy aged 3 where his father was minister of St Bryce Kirk. Educated at Kirkcaldy High School - at that time a grammar school with the Latin motto "Usque conabor" (I shall strive the utmost) he entered Edinburgh University aged 16 and went into politics. BBC biography here ».
Explorer, born in Stirlingshire. Discovered the source of the Blue Nile in 1770. Was congratulated by the French, but the English did not believe him. (1730 - 1794)