A little country that really punches above its weight.
  1. Thank you for:
  2. Television
    John Logie Baird, an engineer from Helensburgh, was one of the early pioneers of television and the first to demonstrate its use, to a group of scientists in an attic in London on 26 January, 1926 - almost exactly 90 years ago! He also helped develop the technology for 3D and colour television, and sent the first transatlantic television transmission.
  3. The Telephone
    Invented by Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish scientist and graduate of the University of Edinburgh. After moving to America, he was also private tutor to Helen Keller
  4. Anaesthesia
    James Young Simpson, an Edinburgh obstetrician, first introduced chloroform in childbirth in the mid-19th century (after a series of experiments involving making himself and his friends and family pass out at dinner parties). This plaque can be found in St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, the church where I got married.
  5. Antiseptics
    Joseph Lister, a surgeon working in Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the 1860s, introduced the concept of sterilising surgical instruments with phenol, or carbolic acid. He also encouraged other sterile techniques in surgical practice, including the use of gloves. This practice led to a significant drop in post-surgical infections and death. He is referred to by many as the father of modern surgery.
  6. Antibiotics
    Alexander Fleming, a Scottish biologist, discovered penicillin in 1928 after one of his bacterial cultures became contaminated by mould while he was on holiday. When he returned, he discovered that the bacteria nearest the mould had been killed. He then grew the mould in pure culture and found it to have remarkable bacteria-killing properties. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945, sharing it with two other scientists who had continued his research and gone on to mass-produce antibiotics.
  7. The Refrigerator
    First demonstrated in 1756 by Edinburgh physician William Cullen
  8. The Flush Toilet
    First patented by Alexander Cumming, a Scottig watchmaker, in 1775. He invented the S-bend, the early precursor to today's U-bend.
  9. MRIs
    The first MRI full-body scanner was built in Aberdeen in the 1970s, by a team led by Professor John Mallard.
  10. Golf
    The modern game originated in Scotland, and the first written record of golf is of King James II banning it as it was distracting people from the learning of archery. The Old Course at St. Andrews is perhaps the most famous golf course in the world.
  11. The Kaleidoscope
    Invented by Sir David Brewster, a Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor, in 1817.
  12. Peter Pan
    Created by J.M Barrie, a novelist from Angus. On his death, he left the rights to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, which continues to profit from them.
  13. Sherlock Holmes
    Created by Scotsman Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Before beginning his career as a writer, Conan Doyle studied Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and Holmes is reported to be based on Joseph Bell, one of his teachers at medical school. Fun fact - Joseph Bell was also friends with Robert Louis Stevenson.
  14. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    Creations of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, who also wrote Kidnapped and Treasure Island.
  15. Auld Lang Syne
    Written by Scottish Poet Robert Burns, whose birthday we celebrate today!