Many Scottish women were pioneers in their fields of science yet remain largely unknown. It’s a real shame as these women faced significant challenges and limited access to education, amazingly persevering to produce major contributions in the fields of chemistry, astronomy and biology.
Below are just a few of the most interesting Scottish female Scientists.
1: Mary Somerville (1780-1872) – Mathematician and Astronomer – Mary has often been called the ‘Queen of Nineteenth Century Science’ and even has an Oxford college named after her. She wrote three major scientific works and was the first woman to be elected to the Royal Astronomical Society.
2: Maria Gordon (1864-1939) – Geologist – Born in Monymusk, Aberdeenshire. Mary became the first woman to gain a PhD from the University of Munich. In her lifetime, she published more than 30 papers on the geology of the South Tyrol region of Italy and was one of the first geologists to show that limestone peaks were formed by movements in the Earth’s crust.
3: Victoria Drummond (1894-1978) – Marine Engineer – Victoria was born at Megginch Castle, Perthshire and was a goddaughter of Queen Victoria. Despite opposition from the male establishment, she served on a number of ships and gained a chief engineer’s certificate. Victoria was awarded an MBE and Lloyd’s war medal for bravery for single-handedly keeping the engines of the SS Bonita running while under German bombardment.
4: Charlotte (‘Lotte’) Auerbach (1899-1944) – Geneticist – After fleeing Nazi Germany in 193, Lotte became a pioneer in the study of genetic mutations and was one of the first scientists to understand the dangers of nuclear radiation. She was one of the first women to be made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
5; Isabella Gordon (1901-1988) – Marine Biologist – Isabella was born to impoverished parents in Keith but overcame the odds and earned a bursary to continue her education. She became known as the ‘Grand Old Lady of Carcinology and spent most of her working life at the British Museum but provided expertise and advice both at home and abroad, including to Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
These amazing ladies are just one of the many reasons why we’re so proud to call Scotland home. If you’re missing a bit of Scotland in your life, don’t hesitate to check out our range of carefully curated tours here.