Joseph Black and John Hutton
by John Kay, 1787
Enlightenment philosophers were influenced by Sir Isaac Newton.
His theory that the universe is governed by logical laws was popular as it could be applied to their own questions and thinking.
Meanwhile, Scottish scientists like Joseph Black and John Hutton were shaping an age of improvement.
Engineering advancements paved the way for the industrial revolution, and established schools and teaching hospitals improved medical practises.
This themed section includes varied items documenting progress in a range of scientific fields, from anthropology to mathematics.
Science and medicine highlights
Steam engine guide
Engineer James Watt (1736-1819) patented an improved steam engine in 1769, which he went on to manufacture and sell.
More about Watt's guide to steam engines, 1780
Notes from Schiehallion experiments
Scientific tests to calculate the earth's density were carried out at this Scottish mountain in 1774.
More about experiments at Schiehallion
Comparing orangutan and human
Lord Monboddo (1714-1799) studied the natural history of man, and observed the likeness of the orangutan to humans.
More about Lord Monboddo's observations
Formation of Earth surface
Geologist James Hutton (1726-1797) collected rocks from all over Scotland to support his scientific theories.
More about Hutton's 'The Theory of the Earth'
More section highlights
Among the items in the 'Science and medicine' section are:
- William Cullen's 'Institutions of Medicine', 1772
- Colin MacLaurin's 'A Treatise of Fluxions', 1742
- Joseph Black’s 'Lectures on the Elements of Chemistry', 1807
- James Lind's 'A Treatise of the Scurvy', 1753.