Scottish inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques either partially or entirely invented, innovated, or discovered by a person born in or descended from Scotland. In some cases, an invention's Scottishness is determined by the fact that it came into existence in Scotland (e.g., animal cloning), by non-Scots working in the country. Often, things that are discovered for the first time are also called "inventions" and in many cases there is no clear line between the two.
The Scots take enormous pride in the history of Scottish invention and discovery. There are many books devoted solely to the subject, as well as scores of websites listing Scottish inventions and discoveries with varying degrees of science.
Even before the Industrial Revolution, Scots have been at the forefront of innovation and discovery across a wide range of spheres. Some of the most significant products of Scottish ingenuity include James Watt's steam engine, improving on that of Thomas Newcomen, the bicycle, macadamisation (not to be confused with tarmac or tarmacadam), Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the first practical telephone, John Logie Baird's invention of television, Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin and insulin.
The following is a list of inventions, innovations, or discoveries that are known or generally recognised as being Scottish.
- Logarithms: John Napier (1550–1617)
- Modern Economics founded by Adam Smith (1776) 'The father of modern economics' with the publication of The Wealth of Nations.
- Modern Sociology: Adam Ferguson (1767) ‘The Father of Modern Sociology’ with his work An Essay on the History of Civil Society
- Hypnotism: James Braid (1795–1860) the Father of Hypnotherapy
- Tropical medicine: Sir Patrick Manson known as the father of Tropical Medicine
- Modern Geology: James Hutton ‘The Founder of Modern Geology’
- The theory of Uniformitarianism: James Hutton (1788): a fundamental principle of Geology the features of the geologic time takes millions of years.
- The theory of electromagnetism: James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879)
- The discovery of the Composition of Saturn's Rings James Clerk Maxwell (1859): determined the rings of Saturn were composed of numerous small particles, all independently orbiting the planet. At the time it was generally thought the rings were solid. The Maxwell Ringlet and Maxwell Gap were named in his honor.
- The Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution by James Clerk Maxwell (1860): the basis of the kinetic theory of gases, that speeds of molecules in a gas will change at different temperatures. The original theory first hypothesised by Maxwell and confirmed later in conjunction with Ludwig Boltzmann.
- Popularising the decimal point: John Napier (1550–1617)
- The first theory of the Higgs boson by English born  Peter Higgs particle-physics theorist at the University of Edinburgh (1964)
- The Gregorian telescope: James Gregory (1638–1675)
- The discovery of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to the Sun, by Robert Innes (1861–1933)
- One of the earliest measurements of distance to the Alpha Centauri star system, the closest such system outside of the Solar System, by Thomas Henderson (1798–1844)
- The discovery of Centaurus A, a well-known starburst galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus, by James Dunlop (1793–1848)
- The discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation of Orion, by Williamina Fleming (1857–1911)
- The world's first oil refinery and a process of extracting paraffin from coal laying the foundations for the modern oil industry: James Young (1811–1883)
- The identification of the minerals yttrialite, thorogummite, aguilarite and nivenite: by William Niven (1889)
- The concept of latent heat by French-born Joseph Black (1728–1799)
- Discovering the properties of Carbon dioxide by French-born Joseph Black (1728–1799)
- The concept of Heat capacity by French-born Joseph Black (1728–1799)
- The pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope scientific instruments: Sir John Leslie (1766–1832)
- Identifying the nucleus in living cells: Robert Brown (1773–1858)
- An early form of the Incandescent light bulb: James Bowman Lindsay (1799-1862)
- Colloid chemistry: Thomas Graham (1805–1869)
- The kelvin SI unit of temperature by Irishman William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824–1907)
- Devising the diagramatic system of representing chemical bonds: Alexander Crum Brown (1838–1922)
- Criminal fingerprinting: Henry Faulds (1843–1930)
- The noble gases: Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916)
- The cloud chamber recording of atoms: Charles Thomson Rees Wilson (1869–1959)
- The discovery of the Wave of Translation, leading to the modern general theory of solitons by John Scott Russell (1808-1882)
- Statistical graphics: William Playfair founder of the first statistical line charts, bar charts, and pie charts in (1786) and (1801) known as a scientific ‘milestone’ in statistical graphs and data visualization
- The Arithmetic mean density of the Earth: Nevil Maskelyne conducted the Schiehallion experiment conducted at the Scottish mountain of Schiehallion, Perthshire 1774
- The first isolation of methylated sugars, trimethyl and tetramethyl glucose: James Irvine
- Discovery of the Japp–Klingemann reaction: to synthesize hydrazones from β-keto-acids (or β-keto-esters) and aryl diazonium salts 1887
- Pioneering work on nutrition and poverty: John Boyd Orr (1880–1971)
- Ferrocene synthetic substances: Peter Ludwig Pauson in 1955
- The first cloned mammal (Dolly the Sheep): Was conducted in The Roslin Institute research centre in 1996 by English scientists Ian Wilmut (born 1944) and Keith Campbell (1954–2012).
- The seismometer innovations thereof: James David Forbes
- Metaflex fabric innovations thereof: University of St. Andrews (2010) application of the first manufacturing fabrics that manipulate light in bending it around a subject. Before this such light manipulating atoms were fixed on flat hard surfaces. The team at St Andrews are the first to develop the concept to fabric.
- Tractor beam innovations thereof: St. Andrews University (2013) the world's first to succeed in creating a functioning Tractor beam that pulls objects on a microscopic level
- Macaulayite: Dr. Jeff Wilson of the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen.
- Discovery of Catacol whitebeam by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (1990s): a rare tree endemic and unique to the Isle of Arran in south west Scotland. The trees were confirmed as a distinct species by DNA testing.
The first positive displacement liquid flowmeter, the reciprocating piston meter by Thomas Kennedy Snr.
Scots have been instrumental in the invention and early development of several sports: