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Our Science collections represent a wide range of scientific endeavour, chiefly in the physical and biomedical sciences, from around the world and particularly in Scotland.

Objects relating to contemporary science have been collected ever since the establishment of the Industrial Museum of Scotland in 1854. From the middle of the 20th century, the Museum also began actively to acquire historic scientific instruments. More recently, collecting has sought to reflect the social and cultural significance of science, both historically and today.

The collections are wide-ranging, representing scientific and medical research and their application in fields such as navigation and industry. There are significant collections of early photographs and photographic equipment, of lighthouse optics and models, weights and measures, medical prosthetics and laboratory equipment.

The oldest object in the science collections is an astrolabe made 1026-1027 AD in Islamic Spain, and the most recent include 21st-century Scottish research tools, such as a liquid handling robot used to help deliver drugs for clinical trials at the University of Dundee.

Objects from the Science collections can be seen on display at the National Museum of Scotland, particularly in the Science & Technology galleries and the Earth In Space gallery.

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Looking for a particular object in our Science and Technology collections?

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Meet the team

Dr Rebekah Higgitt standing in the grand gallery
Dr Rebekah Higgitt
Principal Curator of Science

Specific responsibility: Science collections, including astronomy, navigation, lighthouses, cartography, surveying, metrology, meteorology and oceanography.

Research interest/expertise: History of science 1600-1900; cultural and social history of science and technology; scientific instrument makers.


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Dr Tacye Phillipson
Senior Curator of Science

Specific responsibility: Science collections.

Research interest/expertise: Physical sciences and modern science.


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Sophie Goggins
Senior Curator of Biomedical Science

Specific responsibility: Senior Curator of Biomedical Science.

Research interest/expertise: Contemporary collecting in biomedicine, patient experience, and prosthetics.


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Julie Gibb
Assistant Curator of Science

Specific responsibility: Curatorial support for science collections.

Research interest/expertise: History of Science collections.


Research Associates

Dr Alison Morrison-Low
Research Associate

Alison Morrison-Low is a Research Associate.


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Dr Geoffrey N. Swinney
Research Associate

Dr Geoffrey N. Swinney is a Research Associate.


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Postdoctoral Researchers

Sarah Middle
Postdoctoral Researcher on the Tools of Knowledge project


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PhD Students

Kate Bowell
PhD student based at National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh

Project title: Science on Display: the Historical Relationships between Exhibit Label Texts, Scientific Objects, and Technologies at National Museums Scotland

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Louis Volkmer
AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership student based at NMS and the University of Edinburgh

Project title: Intellectual Properties: Transferring Science from Universities to National Museums Scotland

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