Famous Physicists from Scotland

List of notable or famous physicists from Scotland, with bios and photos, including the top physicists born in Scotland and even some popular physicists who immigrated to Scotland. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Scottish physicists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These physicists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known physicist from Scotland is included when available.

List people range from Charles Thomson Rees Wilson to John Napier.

This historic physicists from Scotland list can help answer the questions "Who are some Scottish physicists of note?" and "Who are the most famous physicists from Scotland?" These prominent physicists of Scotland may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Scottish physicists.

Use this list of renowned Scottish physicists to discover some new physicists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Alexander Macfarlane
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    Prof Alexander Macfarlane FRSE LLD (21 April 1851 – 28 August 1913) was a Scottish logician, physicist, and mathematician.
    • Age: Dec. at 62 (1851-1913)
    • Birthplace: Eurasia, Perth and Kinross, Blairgowrie and Rattray, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
  • Archibald "Archie" Howie CBE HonFRMS FRS HonFRSE (born 8 March 1934) is a British physicist, known for his pioneering work on the interpretation of transmission electron microscope images of crystals. Born in 1934, he attended Kirkcaldy High School and the University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he subsequently took up a permanent post. He has been a fellow of Churchill College since its foundation, and was President of its Senior Combination Room (SCR) until 2010. In 1965, with Hirsch, Whelan, Pashley and Nicholson, he published the seminal text Electron Microscopy of Thin Crystals. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1978 and awarded their ...more
    • Age: 88
    • Birthplace: United Kingdom
  • Balfour Stewart
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    Balfour Stewart (1 November 1828 – 19 December 1887) was a Scottish physicist and meteorologist. His studies in the field of radiant heat led to him receiving the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society in 1868. In 1859 he was appointed director of Kew Observatory. He was elected professor of physics at Owens College, Manchester, and retained that chair until his death, which happened near Drogheda, in Ireland, on 19 December 1887. He was the author of several successful science textbooks, and also of the article on "Terrestrial Magnetism" in the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
    • Age: Dec. at 59 (1828-1887)
    • Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
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    Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, CH, FRS (14 February 1869 – 15 November 1959) was a Scottish physicist and meteorologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cloud chamber.
    • Age: Dec. at 90 (1869-1959)
    • Birthplace: Midlothian, United Kingdom
  • Daniel Rutherford
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    Daniel Rutherford (3 November 1749 – 15 December 1819) was a Scottish physician, chemist and botanist who is known for the isolation of nitrogen in 1772.
    • Age: Dec. at 70 (1749-1819)
    • Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • David Brewster
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    Sir David Brewster KH PRSE FRS FSA(Scot) FSSA MICE (11 December 1781 – 10 February 1868) was a British scientist, inventor, author, and academic administrator. In science he is principally remembered for his experimental work in physical optics, mostly concerned with the study of the polarization of light and including the discovery of Brewster's angle. He studied the birefringence of crystals under compression and discovered photoelasticity, thereby creating the field of optical mineralogy. For this work, William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics" and "the Johannes Kepler of optics."A pioneer in photography, Brewster invented an improved stereoscope, which he ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 86 (1781-1868)
    • Birthplace: Jedburgh, United Kingdom