Welcome to another edition of Hot Scots—where I provide wee introduction to famous Scottish people. Today, I’ve got a few inventors, innovators, and discoverers to share. These are Scots that shook things up with their contributions to the world.
Alexander Graham Bell
Of course, this lad should be first. It’s a name we all know, and one whose invention is still prevalent in our everyday lives to this day! Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh in 1847. He invented the telephone, a device that has helped make the world smaller in terms of communication. In addition, he also did a lot of work in developing telephone companies. His development of the telephone likely came out of the work he did on elocution and speech.
One of the more recent entries on this list is Alexander Fleming, born in East Ayrshire in 1881. During his life, Fleming was an acclaimed biologist, physician, and pharmacologist. But his biggest claim to fame is the invention of penicillin, our first ever antibiotic, in 1923.
This discovery came about after witnessing many soldiers suffer and die due to sepsis in the First World War; medications of the time did little to help, and could often lead to more suffering. Fleming was knighted, and to this day is considered one of the greatest Scots for his contribution to the world.
John Logie Baird
John Logie Baird assisted in the invention of another device that most of us use with great frequency: the television. While there were many others who contributed to this invention, Baird’s involvement was significant. He is often credited for being the first to produce a live television broadcast in greyscale.
This one is a personal favorite of mine. I honestly had no idea that the person famous for this discover was a) female and b) Scottish!
Check this lady out! Born in 1857 in Dundee, Williamina Fleming was an astronomer. She is credited for cataloging thousands of stars and astronomical events. But the biggest thing credited to her is the discovery of the Horsehead Nebula. She discovered the Horsehead Nebula! I think that is so badass!
Born in 1795, James Braid was a surgeon in his time. He made advancements in treatments against conditions such as spinal curving and clubbed foot. But he’s also credited with founding hypnotism—which essentially makes hypnotism a Scottish invention!
This discovery and usage did from his studying and observing demonstrations of similar procedures, such as mesmerism. But I found it to be a fun fact that a Scot founded hypnotism.