Dr Patrick Neill (1776 - 1851) was a distinguished Scottish Naturalist and Fellow of the RSE. He was born in Edinburgh and spent his life in the city. He became the head of the large printing firm of Neill & Co but early in his career he devoted his spare time to natural history, especially botany and horticulture. Dr Neill was the first secretary of the Wernerian Natural History Society and the Caledonian Horticultural Society, holding the latter post for forty years. His “Tour through Orkney and Shetland,” appeared in 1806, a work which gave rise to much discussion, owing to its exposure of the then prevalent misery. He was also the author of the article “Gardening” in the seventh edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica,” which, subsequently published under the title of “The Flower, Fruit, and Kitchen Garden,” and ran through several editions. Edinburgh is indebted to Neill for the scheme of the West Princes Street gardens. In 1820 that portion of the north loch was drained, and five acres of ground were laid out and planted with seventy-seven thousand trees and shrubs under his direction; it was also due to his public spirit that several antiquities were preserved when on the point of being demolished. In 1851 Dr Neill left a charitable bequest to the RSE and he is botanically commemorated by the rosaceous genus Neillia.
The 2015 winner of the RSE/Patrick Neill Medal is Dr Tiziana Lembo, University of Glasgow Research Fellow, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, for her outstanding research work in the field of Veterinary medicine and her breadth of expertise in this field and in data analysis, zoonotic disease and public and animal health in the developing world.
The 2014 winner of the RSE/Patrick Neill Medal was Dr Robert Ryan, PI and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow, Division of Molecular Microbiology, University of Dundee, for his outstanding research work in the field of microbiology, particularly the translational aspects of his work to develop new biomarkers, diagnostics and potential treatments for cystic fibrosis patients.
Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773 - 1860) was the fourth President of the RSE and held office for twenty-eight years, from 1832 to 1860. He was a British soldier, colonial Governor and astronomer. Born near Largs in Ayrshire, and educated in astronomy and mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the British Army and had a distinguished career in Flanders, the West Indies, Spain and North America. He served under the Duke of Wellington and was promoted to Major General. In 1821, on the recommendation of Wellington, Brisbane was appointed Governor of New South Wales, a post he held until 1825. While Governor he tackled the many problems of a rapidly growing and expanding colony. He worked to improve the land grants system and to reform the currency.
The 2015 winner of the RSE/Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal is Dr Stefan Hild, Reader in Experimental Physics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, for his outstanding research work in physics and his international profile in this field. Dr Hild is a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.
The Prizes Committee agreed that there were two equally worthy winners of the RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal in 2014:
RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal (Early Career Prize) to Dr Per Ola Kristensson, Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, for his outstanding research work and entrepreneurialism that intersects human-computer interaction, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
(Dr Kristensson is a Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland)
RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal (Early Career Prize) to Dr Catherine Cazin, Royal Society University Research Fellow and Lecturer, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, for her outstanding research work and breadth and depth of experience in her chosen field of homogeneous catalysis.
(Dr Cazin is a Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland)
Thomas Reid (1710 - 1796) was a Scottish Philosopher who founded the Scottish School of Common Sense and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. He was a contemporary of David Hume and was awarded a Professorship at King’s College, University of Aberdeen, and later the Professorship of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.
There was no 2015 winner of the RSE/Thomas Reid Medal.
The 2014 winner of the RSE/Thomas Reid Medal (Early Career Prize) is Dr Katie Stevenson, Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History, University of St Andrews, for her outstanding scholarly work on the cultural and political history of late medieval Scotland which has established her as a leading international expert in the field and for her commitment to knowledge exchange.
The Reverend Henry Duncan (1774 – 1846) was the founder of the Trustee Savings Bank. The son of a Church of Scotland Minister, he was born at Lochrutton, near Dumfries. Henry Duncan studied at the University of St Andrews until, at the age of sixteen, his father sent him to Liverpool to study banking. Three years later he abandoned the commercial world to study for the Ministry at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. This highly educated man with a flair for business could have succeeded in any field he chose. Instead, he devoted his life to helping the poorest in the land. When he was ordained as Minister of Ruthwell Church in 1799, the Rev Henry Duncan immediately set about helping his starving parishioners. He brought flax for women to spin in their cottages and employed men to turn his 50 acre glebe into a model farm or to work on the roads. He organised their food supply by reviving the languishing Friendly Society and importing grain through his brothers in Liverpool. In 1800 he persuaded the Earl of Mansfield to donate a derelict cottage to the Friendly Society. From this cottage he distributed food to the parishioners and it was in this cottage in 1810 that he was to launch the savings bank movement which spread to 109 organisations in 92 countries.
The 2015 winner of the RSE/Henry Duncan Medal is Dr Martyn Pickersgill, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Biomedical Ethics, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, for his outstanding research work and leadership potential in medical sociology, science and technology studies and empirical bioethics and for his commitment to public engagement and the advancement of social sciences. Dr Pickersgill is an Inaugural Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.
There was no 2014 winner of the RSE/Henry Duncan Medal