Pioneering women

Since its inception, the Trust has supported female students and academics who have become leaders in their field.

thumb 220px-Charlotte AuerbachCharlotte Auerbach (Genetics)

Charlotte Auerbach FRS FRSE (14 May 1899 - 17 March 1994) was a German zoologist and geneticist who came to Scotland in 1933 to undertake a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, where she also spent her entire academic career. In Edinburgh, Auerbach worked alongside leading scientits such as Julian Huxley, J. B. S. Haldane and Hermann Muller, who introduced her to his work on genetic mutation. AUERBACH

During the Second World War, Auerbach's research focused on the genetic mutations caused by mustard gas, which earned her the Keith Prize, awarded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1947. Two years later, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, one of a group of five female scientists who were the first to be elected fellows. Throughout her career, Charlotte Auerbach gained numerous awards: Fellow of the Royal Society in 1957, Darwin Medal in 1977, Gregor Mendel Preis (Germand Genetical Society) 1984 as well as honorary degrees. The Trust supported her research with three research grants during the early days of her career.

thumb Ethel CurrieEthel Currie (Geology)

Ethel Dobbie Currie (4 December 1899 - 24 March 1963) was a Scottish geologist and assistant curator of the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow. Born in Cathcart, she studied at the University of Glasgow where she obtained her PhD un 1923 and a DSc in 1945. Like Charlotte Auerbach, she was one of the first women to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1949. CURRIE ETHEL D

Ethel Currie worked in the field of paleontology and this work and her publications were supported by several Carnegie grants between 1921 and 1945. She was the first woman to be awarded the Neill Prize by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1945). In 1952, she became the first woman to be president of the Geographical Society of Glasgow. She published significant pieces of work on Scottish carboniferous goniatites and on mammalian fossils preserved in the Hunterian Museum's collections.

thumb isabella-gordonIsabella Gordon (Marine Biology)

Isabella Gordon (18 May 1901 - 11 May 1988) was a Scottish marine biologist, specialising in carcinology and the study of crabs and sea spiders. 

GORDON ISABELLABorn in Keith, Isabella Gordon's parents could not afford a university education for their daughter so a tuition fee bursary from the Carnegie Trust enabled her to attend the University of Aberdeen and study zoology. She graduated with distinction in 1922 and left for Imperial College where she studied echinoderms such as starfish, sea urchins and similar marine creatures. She was awarded a PhD from Imperial College in 1926. After her graduation, Isabella Gordon spent a couple of years at Yale University before joining the Natural History Museum in London in 1928. There she was Assistant Keeper for the Crustacea Section. She was the first woman appointed as a full-time permament member of staff. During her career, Gordon was elected Fellow and Council Member of the Linnean Society and of the Fellow of the Zoological Society. She was awarded an OBE in 1961.

Isabella Gordon died in 1988 and her will included a small legacy of £1000 to the Carnegie Trust in recognition of the support she had received as an undergraduate student.

thumb Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon 1900Maria Gordon (Geology)

Dame Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon DBE (30 April 1864 - 24 June 1939) was a Scottish geologist and palaeontologist who specialised in the study of fossil corals. Born in Aberdeenshire, Maria first studied at Heriot-Watt College, and University College London where she completed a Bachelor of Science in geology and zoology. Refused admission to Berlin University, she was awarded a PhD in 1900 from the University of Munich, the first woman to graduate with a PhD at that institution. She was also the first woman to receive a DSc from the University of London. GORDON MARIA M OMaria Gordon returned to Aberdeen where she married a local physician and went on to have three children while still carrying out research in the geology of the Dolomites. Her research in the geological structure of the region led to to a new understanding of the tectonic structure of the Alps.

In addition to her scientific work, Maria Gordon is also known as a strong and vocal supporter of the rights of women and children, calling for better representation of women in politics. A fossilised fern genus found in sediments in the Dolomites was named Gordonopteris Iorigae in her honour in 2000. In total, Gordon received 8 research grants from the Carnegie Trust.

thumb Prof.Dr.Anna MacGillivray MacleodAnna MacGillivray Macleod (Biochemistry)

Anna MacGillivray Macleod (15 May 1917 - 13 August 2004) was leading Scottish botanist and biochemist who was the first female Professor of Brewing and Biochemistry in the world appointed by Heriot-Watt University.

MACLEOD ANNA MBorn in Kirkhill, near Inverness, Anna Macleod studied Botany at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a BSc. She joined the Heriot-Watt University in 1945 and remained there throughout her academic career. In the 1960s, she was awarded a DSc from the University of Edinburgh for a thesis on the germination of barley. In 1975, she became the first female Professor of Brewing when she was awarded a personal Chair. Following her retirement, she maintained links with her previous department and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by Heriot-Watt for her discovery of Gibberellich acid. During her career she received the Horace Brown Medal, the highest honour in the brewing industry. Her research was supported by a Carnegie grant in 1958 and 1969.

thumb millerChristina Cruickshank Miller (Chemistry)

Christina Cruickshank Miller (29 August 1899 - 16 July 2001) was a Scottish chemist. Born in Coatbridge, Christina studied at the University of Edinburgh and at Heriot-Watt College during the sameMILLER CHRISTINA C Page 1 period, graduating from each institution in 1920 and 1921 respectively. Under the direction of Sir James Walker she started a PhD which was funded for two years by the Carnegie Trust. This was followed by a Carnegie Fellowship during which she started working on phosphorus trioxide of which she produced the first ever sample and delivered the definitive explanation of its glow. The resulting paper was awarded the Keith Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1929, following which she achieved her ambition of earning a DSc before the age of 30. She was the first female chemist to be elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

A teacher revered by her students, her research focused primarily on inorganic chemistry and she was appointed Director of the Teaching Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University in 1933.

Carnegie's vision of philanthropy

"The day is not far distant when the man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away un-wept, un-honored and un-sung . . . Of such as these the public verdict will then be: 'The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.'"

Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (1889). You can listen to a 1914 recording of Andrew Carnegie reading from his essay on responsible giving. This is the only known recording of the industrialist and philanthropist's voice.

Help us continue Andrew Carnegie's legacy

Donations and legacies from former beneficiaries, grant recipients or other supporters help the Carnegie Trust carry on and extend its support in the changing landscape of Scottish higher education.

You can learn more about ways to support the work of the Trust in the Support the Trust section.