Pioneers of Science

  • 1st December 2011 − 11th May 2014 | Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The importance of science

The term ‘scientist’ was first commonly used in the late nineteenth century to describe those who investigated the natural world through experiments performed according to scientific methods.  In 1883, the mathematician and physicist, Sir William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, underlined the importance of science for everyday life: ‘the life and soul of science is its practical application’.  Today scientific research is mainly carried out by integrated research groups.  However, the emphasis on the individual remains, and discoveries are generally linked with the people who often give their names to objects, ideas and processes.