News | Published:

History of Science in Scotland

    Naturevolume 149page605 (1942) | Download Citation



    THE Regional Committee for Adult Education of the University of St. Andrews has followed up the issue of twelve pamphlets on “Britain and its People” by the publication of a further dozen under the general title “Scotland and its People”. These pamphlets provide, in a very readable form, much general information about Great Britain, and particularly about Scotland. Through the help of the Pilgrim Trust, it has been possible to distribute them free of charge to members of H. M. Forces and Allied troops. Among the titles in the second series are “The History of Science in Scotland”, by Sir D'Arcy Thompson, “ Scotland and Advances in Medicine and Surgery”, by Dr. J. Patrick, “ The Scottish Universities”, by Sir James Irvine, and “Scottish Agriculture and Industry”, by Mr. J. W. Nisbet. In his rapid survey of Scottish science Sir D'Arcy Thompson points out that Napier of Merchiston was the first true man of science in Scotland since Michael Scot. Soon after Napier's death, began the long line of “academic Gregories”, contributing some fourteen professors of mathematics, medicine and chemistry to the Scottish universities during the succeeding two hundred years. “There is hardly such another instance known of scientific heredity, unless perhaps that of the Cassinis, who directed the Paris Observatory for nearly as long.” John Napier, James Gregory, Colin Maclaurin and James Stirling are characterized as the four great Scottish mathematicians ; “but there came after them many a good man”, including Ivory and Tait.

    About this article

    Publication history

    Issue Date



    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing