11 February 2021 

As we celebrate International Women in Science day today, let’s take a moment in history to appreciate the female, Scottish scientists that helped shaped our future today.

Mary Sommerville (1780 – 1872)

Mary was born in 1780 in Jedburgh, Edinburgh, and later gained notoriety in her career as being a Mathematician and Astronomer. She is best known for her study of sunlight and its magnetising impact. Mary was also the first woman in history chosen and assigned to the Royal Astronomical Society.

Maria Gordon (1894-1978)

Maria was born in 1894 in Aberdeenshire, and she was best known for her work in Geology. Not only did Maria develop her career as a scientist but was in fact the first female to gain a PhD in the University of Munich. She was one of the first people in her field to discover that limestone peaks were made by the Earth’s crust movement. Fascinating!

Victoria Drummond (1894-1978)

Victoria was born in 1894 in Perthshire and was in fact the goddaughter of Queen Victoria.

In those times, being an engineer was predominately lead by men, female’s did not belong in engineering. However, this did not stop Victoria, and in fact gained an MBE for her work. She was recognised for her work in controlling the engine of the ship SS Bonita running during the German bombardment – an act of bravery.

Charlotte (‘Lotte’) Auerbach (1899-1944)

Charlotte, born in 1899, fled Germany to study genetic mutations and is one of the first female to study this at Royal Society of Edinburgh.  Along with this, she made the discovery of how damaging nuclear radiation is and how we are impacted when exposed.

Isabella Gordon (1901-1988)

Isabella, born in 1901 in Keith, was a Marine Biologist. She grew up in a deprived area, yet exceeded to work hard and gained the sufficient funds to study in the career she later desired to thrive in. From this, she is known as the ‘Grand Old Lady of Carcinology’ and spent her time offering her advice globally and locally. 

The inspiring women we have discovered today have had a great impact on not just our Scottish history, but globally. What is stopping you from joining them? Could you be the next female scientist to impact our future?