Apr 172016
 

Moray House, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AQ
Thompson's Land, University of Edinburgh

On this building you will find a plaque dedicated to Sir Godfrey Thomson, a pioneer of research into human intelligence. Thompson worked on the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947, which measured the intelligence of most of the children born in Scotland in 1921 and 1936 respectively. The data collected was rediscovered in the late 1990s by Ian Deary and Lawrence Whalley. Together with new data from the now elderly participants in the original survey, it has formed the basis of an important research programme exploring the effects of aging on the brain.

No public access.

Sir Godfrey Thomson (1881–1955).

Sir Godfrey Thomson (1881–1955).

Plaque to Sir Godfrey Thomson on Thomson's Land, University of Edinburgh

Plaque to Sir Godfrey Thomson on Thomson’s Land, University of Edinburgh

Plaque to Sir Godfrey Thompson in St John's Street.

Plaque to Sir Godfrey Thompson in St John’s Street.

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Apr 172016
 

38 Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA

The City Observatory on Calton Hill.

 

An observatory on Calton Hill was first proposed by Colin Maclaurin, Edinburgh’s professor of mathematics, in 1736. However, these plans came to nothing until Thomas Short brought a 12-foot reflecting telescope to the city in 1776, with the intention of opening a public observatory as a commercial enterprise. The university helped him with the cost of building the observatory on condition it was open to students. Short’s observatory became the property of the city on his death, but his daughter Maria Theresa ran her own observatory on Calton Hill before moving to a new site on Castlehill in 1850.

 

The Gothic Tower at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1792.

The Gothic Tower at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1792.

The Playfair Building at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1824.

The Playfair Building at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1824.

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Mar 082016
 

13 Sylvan Place, Edinburgh EH9 1LH

Joseph Black's house

Up an alleyway here you will find the house where the great chemist Joseph Black lived in around 1740. To get to the university from here Black only had to walk across the Meadows, where he often took a stroll with his friends the economist and political philosopher Adam Smith and the geologist James Hutton. Among his important contributions to chemistry were the discovery of carbon dioxide and latent heat. He discovered the latter principle when he observed that applying heat to boiling water produces more steam, but does not raise its temperature above its boiling point.

No public access.

 

Portrait of Joseph Black (1728–99).

Commemorative plaque on Joseph Black’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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