History of Astronomy Tour

 
1. Mary Sommerville’s House

Mary Sommerville (1780-1872) is often described as the “queen of science in the 19th Century.” Read more…

 

2. Thomas Henderson’s House

Thomas Henderson (1798-1844) became the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1834. Read more…

 

Charles Piazzi Smyth's house. 3. Charles Piazzi Smyth’s House

Charles Piazzi Smyth, Scotland’s second Astronomer Royal, was appointed Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh in 1846. Read more…

observatory

 

4. City Observatory

An observatory on Calton Hill was first proposed by Colin Maclaurin, Edinburgh’s professor of mathematics, in 1736. Read more…

Memorial to John Playfair, Calton Hill. 5. John Playfair memorial

Mathematician, physicist and geologist, John Playfair is perhaps best known as James Hutton’s most influential disciple. Read more…

6. Time Ball on Nelson Monument

In 1853, the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth, secured the installation of a time ball at the top of Nelson Monument. Read more…

The Royal Society of Edinburgh 7. The Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh was set up in imitation of the Royal Society of London in 1783. Read more…

Camera Obscura. 8. Outlook tower (Camera Obscura)

Edinburgh is home to the oldest camera obscura in Britain, which first opened in 1853. Read more…

9. One O’Clock Gun

Because of the poor Scottish weather, the notorious haar (sea fog), and smog, the time ball at the top of Nelson Monument on Calton Hill was rarely visible  Read more…

Mr Wood's Fossils

 

10. Mr Wood’s Fossils

This shop was established in 1987 by the professional fossil hunter Stanley Wood, who, although he never held an academic post, made some important palaeontological discoveries. Read more…

College Wynd 11. College Wynd

It was close to here that James Gregory, the University of Edinburgh’s first professor of Mathematics, lived between his appointment in 1674 and his death in 1675. Read more…

12. Astronomical Instruments at National Museum of Scotland

The Astronomy Technology collections of the National Museum of Scotland contain a variety of artefacts, from orreys (mechanical solar system simulators) to a refracting imaging telescope. Read more…

 

Tomb of Colin Maclaurin

13. Grave of Colin Maclaurin

Colin Maclaurin was an important figure of the first years of the Scottish Enlightenment. Read more…

14. Mary Brück Building

This building at the University of Edinburgh Kings Buildings science campus honours the astronomer and historian of science Mary Brück (1925-2008) Read more…

The Royal Observatory. 15. The Royal Observatory

A new observatory for Edinburgh was opened in 1896 on top of one of the Braid Hills. Read more…

 

The development of the tour was kindly supported by the IoP in Scotland and British Society for History of Science Outreach Grants.

The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) Logo

Share #curiousedinburgh: