Physics in Edinburgh: From Napier’s Bones to Higgs’s Boson

  • John Henry


Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 and by any standards is a beautiful city. It makes an immediate impact upon the visitor because major aspects of its history are there for all to see in the general arrangement of the city, and in its buildings. The Castle, sitting on the prominent summit of one of the volcanic plugs that dominate the topography of the city, is a constant focus for the eye of the wandering tourist. From the Castle Esplanade a downward-sloping road running eastward forms the spine of the Old Town. This road is known to tourists as the Royal Mile, but it actually consists of three parts with separate names: the Lawnmarket, the High Street, and the Canongate. The eastern end of the Canongate culminates at the ruined Holyrood Abbey (granted a Royal Charter in 1124) and the adjacent Palace of Holyrood House, the principal residence of the Scottish monarch since the fifteenth century (although rumored to be the least favorite of the present queen’s residences), and now the new Scottish Parliament building (officially opened in 2004). It is a Royal Mile, then, because it stretches from Castle to Palace.


Higgs Boson Royal Society Nobel Prize High Street Royal Observatory 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Henry
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Edinburgh Science Studies UnitEdinburghScotland

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