List of Achievements
In addition to discovering the University of Glasgow world changing achievements through the options appearing elsewhere on this site, you may browse a complete list of the achivements below. Achievements are listed alphabetically and there are 103 achievements currently available. In the navigation bar, hover over a letter to see how many achievements begin with the letter. Click on a letter to limit the list to titles of your chosen letter.
- Advancing the treatment of leukaemia in the animal and human populations
The retrovirus now known as feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) was discovered by William Jarrett and his colleagues in the Department of Veterinary Pathology in 1963. This in itself has all but eradicated the disease in pet cats. It has also led to developments in the treatment of human cancers.
- Breaking new ground in the understanding of the structure of muscle fibres
The first description that muscle spindles contain two types of specialized muscle fibres was written by Ian Boyd. This led directly to our modern understanding of how these sensors function in muscles.
- Compiling the classic text on the Law of Scotland
Gloag & Henderson, first published in 1927 as An Introduction to the Law of Scotland is referred to as "the work of reference on the law of Scotland".
- Contributing to the development of the concept of conformation and its application in chemistry
Our current level understanding of enzymatic processes would not have been possible without the work of Derek Barton. He coined the term "conformation analysis" which has become a term familiar to all scientists.
- Contributing to the foundation of the dietetic profession.
Dietetic research and teaching in the UK was pioneered by Mary Andross carrying out experiments on the nutritional value of local versus imported meats as early as 1936.
- Contributing to the Scottish literary renaissance of the early 20th century
Scottish author, biographer and journalist, Catherine Carswell is now known as one of the few women who took part in the Scottish Renaissance. Her works are still widely read today.
- Creating the first peer-reviewed journal specifically devoted to the economic, political and social policy systems of the Soviet Union
The peer-reviewed academic Journal, Soviet Studies, was launched in 1949 to critical acclaim.
- Creating the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre
Founded in 1943, the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre has an international reputation and is the principal producing theatre in Scotland.
- Creating the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
The Historical Thesaurus is the first ever produced for any language in the world, containing almost every word in English from Old English to the present day.
- Decommissioning of a Nuclear Reactor for the first time
This successful decommissioning and delicensing of a nuclear reactor was achieved by returning the entire site to brown field status.
- Developing a pump for delivery of anaesthesia during surgery – the Diprifusor® target-controlled infusion (TCI)
The Diprifusor® target-controlled infusion allowed direct control of a specific drug's concentration within a patient during surgery.
- Developing and applying multi-disciplinary social and economic research
Alec Cairncross and Donald Robertson used their expertise and vision to create an multi-disciplinary academic department which led the way in applied socio-economic research, especially in the field of urban and regional planning.
- Developing in vitro fertilisation
Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe developed the IVF technique for the fertilisation of human egg cells outside the body which led to te world's first test-tube baby in July 1978.
- Developing our understanding of tissue transplantation
When Tom Gibson and Peter Medawar (later Sir) described the 'Second Set' phenomenon in 1943 they laid the foundations for tissue transplantation.
- Developing robust methods for the detection of irradiated food
The methods and equipment developed for screening foodstuffs for irradiation have become UK and European standards.
- Developing the Glasgow Coma Scale
Graham Teasdale and Bryan Jennett's Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is used in hospitals all over the world to provide a quick and reliable assessment of the conscious state of a patient with a suspected brain injury.
- Developing the Glasgow Outcome Scale
Bryan Jennett and Michael Bond's Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) is the most widely used scale for assessing patient outcome after a serious head injury.
- Developing the groundbreaking concept of Motorised Momentum Exchange Tether for Spaceflight
This system which works on the principle of momentum transfer coupled to orbital mechanics is revolutionising space rocket propulsion.
- Development of speech therapy
Anne McAllister was a pioneer and international leader in the development of speech therapy.
- Discovering of cause of Leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis is a tropical disease named after the William Leishman who discovered its cause in 1900.
- Discovery and understanding of types of parasitic worms
Robert Leiper made lasting contributions to our understanding of the biology and taxonomy of parasitic worms infecting humans and animals.
- Discovery of Isotopes
The value and use of isotopes in research and their importance in technology and applications to society today would have astounded Soddy.
- Discovery of Protactinium
Protactinium is a chemical element with the symbol Pa and atomic number 91. It was discovered by John Arnold Cranston.
- Discovery of pulsars
The discovery of pulsars, cosmic sources of peculiar radio pulses, provided the first direct evidence for the existence of black holes and is an important milestone in the history of astrophysics.
- Discovery of silica and phosphate biominerals in brachiopod shells
Alwyn Williams' discovery that there is a major change in cellular and biochemical processes in the creation of the shells of marine brachiopods changed the understanding of biomineralistaion in living organisms.
- Discovery of the ‘Parasexual cycle’
Guido Pontecorvo and Alan Roper discovered the 'Parasexual cycle' that causes genetic re-assortment without sexual reproduction.
- Discovery of the E-function
E-function, is part of the basic canon of mathematics and is of great importance as it is used to describe the size of anything growing steadily, from population growth to infection rates.
- Discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and determination of their place in the periodic system
William Ramsay published several notable papers on the oxides of nitrogen in the 1880s and followed those up with the discovery of argon, helium, neon, krypton, and xenon in the 1890s.
- Encouragement of young creative writers
Philip Hobsbaum’s greatest contribution to the international literary canon was his lifelong encouragement and nurturing of young writers.
- Established a major marine research centre at Millport on the Firth of Clyde
Sheina Marshall, established Scottish Marine Biological Association Millport, as a major research centre, as a result of a series of twelve seminal papers on plankton.
- Establishing a system for the classification of beetles.
A world authority, Roy Crowson's 1955 publication The Natural Classification of the Families of British Coleoptera provided the basis for all subsequent classification systems.
- Establishing fundamental principles in aircraft design
Frank Barnwell's approach to aircraft design established principles that are as valid today as they were when he first conceived them during the First World War.
- Establishing Ischaemic Brain Damage as an important likely cause of mortality and morbidity after head injury
This study demonstrated that IBD was common in fatal head injury and suggested that a proportion of it was avoidable.
- Establishing the fungus Aspergillus nidulans as a convenient genetical tool
Guido Pontecorvo undertook pioneering work in genetics by establishing the fungus Aspergillus nidulans as a convenient genetical tool, which is now used throughout the world.
- Establishing the Royal Air Force
David Henderson, Father of the Royal Air Force, is one of the most under-estimated British soldiers of the World War 1914-1918. He made fundamental contributions in two areas - military intelligence and military aviation.
- Establishing the US biotech industry
Adrenalin, one of the first of the many 'blockbuster' drugs introduced during the 20th century was discovered and patented by Jokichi Takamine.
- Evidence against the use of organ transplantation from melanoma patients
Rona Mackie’s work on melanoma has been highly received across the world, and in the field of transplantation has influenced practice with former melanoma patients in Europe and North America.
- Extending and renewing interest in Adam Smith (1723-1790)
A work of great skill and dedication taking over 25 years to complete, the seven volumes of The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith were published by Oxford University Press between 1976 and 1987.
- First evidence that cholesterol-lowering statins can prevent the development of ischaemic heart disease in apparently healthy individuals
Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drug, are now used around the world to prevent heart attacks.
- First experimental demonstration that maternal condition of birds can manipulate the sex ratio of their offspring
This study was the first experimental demonstration that females could adjust the sex ratio of the eggs they produced in response to environmental circumstances.
- First female chair of Dermatology in the UK
Rona Mackie became in 1978 the first female Professor of Dermatology in the UK, and within the University of Glasgow, the first woman to be appointed to an established chair.
- First female Professor of Dentistry in the UK
In 1990, Dorothy Geddes became the first female dental academic to take up a professorial position in the UK.
- First Minister of Scotland 1999-2000
Donald Dewar, a major player in Scottish and UK politics, campaigned for Scottish devolution and masterminded the Scottish Bill through Westminster, becoming the first holder of the office of First Minister of Scotland.
- First patent to be issued in any jurisdiction for a natural biological process
Guido Pontecorvo and Alan Roper patented their discovery of the 'Parasexual cycle'.
- First Routine hospital-based ECG interpretation by minicomputer
Developed by Professor Peter Macfarlane and his team in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (Glasgow Royal Infirmary), the University of Glasgow ECG Analysis Program has been adopted commercially and applied world-wide.
- First systematic analysis of TV journalism
The work of the Glasgow University Media Group on how news information is organized and the implicit and explicit explanations that are put before the audience has been replicated around the world.
- Founding modern economics
Adam Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics and over 200 years after his death, he is still among the most influential thinkers in the field of economics today.
- Founding Scottish Opera
Scottish Opera is Scotland’s national opera company and the largest performing arts organisation in Scotland.
- Founding the Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is the largest political party campaigning for the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom. It has had continuous parliamentary representation since 1967 and was the largest party in the Scottish Parliament since 2007.
- Founding the study of Organic Crystallography
John Monteath Robertson ("JM") was a pioneer in the field of X-ray crystallography and the founder of organic crystallography.
- Gaelic poet and critic
Through his own poetry, his active leadership in promoting the work of Gaelic writers, and his rigorous scholarship, Derrick Thomson has demonstrated his commitment to rendering Gaelic culture accessible to the national and international community.
- Groundbreaking statistical analysis of compositional geological data.
John Aitchison's award winning work has revolutionised the way Geologists analyse data.
- Helping us to understand the Geodynamic Carbon Cycle on Earth
Evidence from Scottish Lewisian marbles demonstrated that the Paleoproterozoic Lomagundi-Jatuli event caused a major change in carbon deposition on Earth.
- Influencing policy towards the Soviet Union
Alec Nove had a significant role in advising successive British Ambassadors to the Soviet Union and in changing British Government policy towards the Soviet Union in the early 1980s.
- Influencing social reform in the 1960s and 1970s
As a champion of causes that were unfashionable in the 1960s and 1970s, Kay Carmichael influenced society's attitudes to gay rights, prison reform, and the decriminalisation of prostitution.
- Introducing anti-sepsis in the operating theatre
Joseph Lister promoted the idea of sterile surgery, introducing carbolic acid (phenol) to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds, which led to a huge reduction in post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients.
- Inventing television
The first working television system was demonstrated by John Logie Baird on the 26th of January 1926.
- Inventing the phantom head to train dental students
Edward Oswald Fergus developed a stimulated head for teaching dental students. Although it has undergone some refinements, it is still used around the world to train and educate dental students.
- Inventing the range-finder and other optical instruments
The inventions of Archibald Barr and their subsequent commercial exploitation have had a lasting impact on the world economy.
- Inventing the storage ring for high-energy elementary particles
The storage ring is now the dominant facility for high energy elementary particle physics world-wide, whether in heavy-flavour studies at electron-positron facilities, or at the highest energies using proton - (anti) proton collisions at Fermilab (USA) or CERN Geneva) and electron-proton collisions (DESY, Hamburg).
- Inventing the world’s first commercial vaccine for a parasitic disease of cattle (Dictol)
In the late 1950s, a multidisciplinary group of scientists at the Glasgow Veterinary School developed the world's first successful vaccine for a parasitic disease affecting cattle.
- Invention of the proportional counter
Sir Samuel Curran, a recognised world leader in his field, invented the two basic techniques for the detection of the passage of elementary particles, the scintillation counter, and the proportional counter for the detection of radiation sources.
- Invention of the scintillation counter
Sir Samuel Curran, a recognised world leader in his field, invented the two basic techniques for the detection of the passage of elementary particles, the proportional counter, and the scintillation counter to measure a number of different radiations.
- Key discoveries of the life cycle of Trypanosomes
African trypanosomiasis remains endemic in central Africa today. The parasites invade the central nervous system and brain, where they cause many neurological symptoms, including disruption to sleep-wake patterns, which have led the disease to be referred to as sleeping sickness.
- Lasting contribution to Scottish and European politics
Winnie Ewing was one of the most influential Scotswomen of her generation as a Scottish National Party politician who was a Member of Parliament, Member of the European Parliament and Member of the Scottish Parliament.
- Lasting significance in political philosophy and strategy
Oliver Franks, described as 'one of the founders of the post-war world', was deeply involved in Britain's recovery after the Second World War and was a co-founder of NATO and chair of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.
- Leader of the Labour Party 1992-1994
As leader of the Labour Party, John Smith established the principle of "one member one vote" at party conferences and committed Labour to re-establishing a Scottish Parliament.
- Leading administrator of women's university education
As the most senior woman academic in Scotland, Frances Melville was an astute administrator and ambassador of women's education.
- Leading literary criticism
Janet Spens was one of leading literary critics of her day, specialising in Elizabethan literature.
- Leading obstetrician and gynaecologist
Louise McIlroy was a pioneering female medical professional who specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology and received many distinctions and awards in recognition of her work.
- Leading research in the fields of Roman archaeology and numismatics
Anne Robertson's reputation in the two areas of academic study - archaeology and numismatics - was achieved while also maintaining high standards of museum curatorship and public engagement.
- Leading the Red Clydeside movement
A revolutionary socialist of international standing, John Maclean was an honorary president of the first Congress of Soviets and appointed by Lenin as Bolshevik consul for Scotland.
- Leading the Red Clydeside movement
One of the leading orators of his time, James Maxton was one of the prominent figures of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in Glasgow and a key political figure during the Red Clydeside period.
- Leading the study of Scottish Carboniferous Goniatites
Currie's primary research interest was in the field of palaeontology in which she published a number of academic works.
- Legal philosophy
Neil MacCormick was one of the world’s leading philosophers of law and was the constitutional authority behind the upsurge of Scottish nationalism in the late 20th century.
- Making important contributions to physics especially in electricity, magnetism and thermodynamics
The dominant scientific figure of his time, William Thomson did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second Laws of Thermodynamics and had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor.
- Minister of Pensions and National Insurance 1964-1967
Instrumental in removing the discretionary National Assistance payment scheme and introducing Supplementary Benefit.
- Multistage Flash Distillation System for desalination
Robert Silver invented the Multistage Flash (MSF) Distillation System to desalinate seawater, which made an outstanding contribution to humanitarian and economic progress.
- National Poet for Scotland 2004-2010
Regarded internationally as one of the finest poets of his generation, Edwin Morgan was created National Poet for Scotland (the Scottish Makar) in 2004
- Pioneering the University education of women in Scotland
The Glasgow movement to establish the right of women to a university education and the establishment of a means to deliver it was led by Jessie Campbell, administered by Janet Galloway and financed by Isabella Elder.
- Pioneering the use of ultrasound in medicine
The use of diagnostic ultrasound, particularly in obstetric medicine, became established practice thanks to the work of Ian Donald.
- Pioneering the use of X-rays in medicine
John Macintyre was a pioneer of the use of X-rays as a therapeutic tool and established the world's first hospital x-ray unit in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
- Pioneering use of Caesarean sections to improve survival rates of mothers and babies
Murdoch Cameron pioneered Caesarean sections under antiseptic conditions. In doing so, he improved the survival rates of mother and baby.
- Pioneering work for the rights of those with mental health issues
Kate Fraser used her unrivalled knowledge and understanding of the social implications of mental health to ensure that the mentally ill were included in the provisions of the Disabled Persons Employment Act 1944.
- Pioneering work on sex chromosomes
Ferguson-Smith contributed significantly to gene mapping and developed improved tests for screening for Down’s syndrome and spina bifida in the fetus.
- Preventing disease in Africa
Keith Vickerman demonstrated that due to antigenic variations in Trypanosomes, a vaccine cannot be developed against one of Africa’s most important diseases.
- Preventing mineral deficiencies in cattle
Rumen boluses, designed to lie in the reticulum of ruminant animals, can supply vital dietary elements or drugs to cattle and sheep without the need for daily supplementation in feeds.
- Preventing the spread of the parasitic disease Toxoplasmosis
The role of cats in the infection of humans with Toxoplasma parasite was discovered by Bill Hutchison.
- Prime minister 1905-1908
As Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman introduced legislation to ensure trade unions could not be liable for damages incurred during strike action and to provide free school meals for children.
- Prime minister 1922-1923
A leading member of the coalition Government during the First World War, Bonar Law became Prime Minister in 1922 and set about returning Britain to normality.
- Proving that waist circumference is an indicator of the risk of heart disease
The waist circumference measurement, proposed by Mike Lean, also turned out to be more accurate than BMI as a predictor of obesity-related health risks, from diabetes, CHD, stroke, sleep apnoea syndrome, depression.
- Rethinking Schizophrenia
R D Laing’s contribution to psychiatry was considerable and centred upon his way of understanding serious mental illness.
- Secretary of State for Scotland 1936-1938
Walter Elliot had a life-long interest in medical science and was an authority on nutrition. A Conservative with a strong interest in social reform, he introduced free milk for school children.
- Secretary of State for Scotland 1941-1945
As Secretary of State for Scotland, Tom Johnston did much to develop the Highlands and attract industry to Scotland, and help set up the North of Scotland Hydro-electric Board.
- Secretary of State for Scotland 1964-1970, 1974-1976
Willie Ross was responsible for creating the Highlands and Islands Development Board.
- Successfully removing a brain tumour for the first time
The first surgeon to successfully remove a brain tumour was Sir William Macewen.
- The light harvesting complex from photosynthetic bacteria.
The model of the light harvesting complex, the first of such protein structures to be determined in the UK, demonstrates how the photosynthetic bacteria capture and transmit energy from the sun.
- Undertaking the largest long-term study of the health of socially deprived populations in the UK
The key findings of the MIDSPAN research studies have broadened our understanding of risk factors associated with respiratory illness, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
- Winning the Nobel Peace Prize
John Boyd Orr was the first scientist to show that there was a link between poverty, poor diet, and ill health and is the founding father of modern nutrition science.
- Winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988
The world of clinical pharmacology was greatly advanced with James Black's discoveries of the first beta-blocking heart drug in the 1950s (propranolol), and the first drug to block stomach acid secretion (cimetidine) in 1977.
- Work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes
The 1957 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to Sir Alexander Todd for his work on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes. His research led directly to the understanding of nucleic acids and Watson and Crick discovering the helical structure of DNA in 1953.
- Writing a classic text on medical jurisprudence, toxicology and public health
From first publication, Glaister's A Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence, Toxicology and Public Health was hailed as essential reading for all those connected with forensic medicine and science.
- Writing novels and screenplays of international repute.
The quality of William Boyd's books and short stories, has been recognised by the award of several major literary prizes. They have been translated into more than thirty languages.