Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

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Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
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Sponsored by Royal Society of Edinburgh
Location Edinburgh
Website rse.org.uk/fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland, judges to be "eminently distinguished in their subject". This society had, in itself recieved a royal charter in 1783, allowing for its expansion. [1]

Royal Society of Edinburgh academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Royal charter Document issued by a monarch, granting a right or power to an individual or organisation

A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs, universities and learned societies.



Around 50 new fellows are elected each year in March. [1] As of 2016 there are around 1,650 Fellows, including 71 Honorary Fellows and 76 Corresponding Fellows. [1] [2]

A fellow is a member of a group of learned people which works together in pursuing mutual knowledge or practice. There are many different kinds of fellowships which are awarded for different reasons in academia and industry. These often indicate a different level of scholarship.

Fellows are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRSE and the Honorary Fellows the post-nominal letters HonFRSE.

Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that that individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decoration, or honour, or is a member of a religious institute or fraternity. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters, but in some contexts it may be customary to limit the number of sets to one or just a few. The order in which post-nominals are listed after a name is based on rules of precedence and what is appropriate for a given situation. Post-nominal letters are one of the main types of name suffix. In contrast, pre-nominal letters precede the name rather than following it.


The Fellowship is split into four broad sectors, covering the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life.

A: Life Sciences

B: Physical, Engineering and Informatic Sciences

C: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

D: Business, Public Service and Public Engagement

Notable fellows

Examples of current fellows include Peter Higgs and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. [1] Previous fellows have included Melvin Calvin, Benjamin Franklin, and James Clerk Maxwell, and James Watt. [3]

Peter Higgs British physicist

Peter Ware Higgs is a British theoretical physicist, emeritus professor in the University of Edinburgh, and Nobel Prize laureate for his work on the mass of subatomic particles.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell British astronomer

Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, co-discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century". The discovery was recognised by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, but despite the fact that she was the first to observe the pulsars, Bell was not one of the recipients of the prize.

Melvin Calvin American chemist

Melvin Ellis Calvin was an American biochemist most famed for discovering the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He spent most of his five-decade career at the University of California, Berkeley.

A comprehensive biographical list of Fellows from 1783-2002 has been published by the Society. [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Joseph Larmor Physics

Sir Joseph Larmor FRS FRSE DCL LLD was an Irish physicist and mathematician who made innovations in the understanding of electricity, dynamics, thermodynamics, and the electron theory of matter. His most influential work was Aether and Matter, a theoretical physics book published in 1900.

Richard Laurence Millington Synge British biochemist

Dr Richard Laurence Millington Synge FRS FRSE FRIC FRSC MRIA was a British biochemist, and shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention of partition chromatography with Archer Martin.

John M. Ball British mathematician

Sir John Macleod Ball is Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He was the President of the International Mathematical Union from 2003–06 and a Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford. He was educated at the University of Cambridge and Sussex University, and prior to taking up his Oxford post was a professor of mathematics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Anthony James Trewavas FRS FRSE is Emeritus Professor in the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Edinburgh best known for his research in the fields of plant physiology and molecular biology. His research investigates plant behaviour.

Christopher Bishop Scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh

Christopher Michael Bishop is the Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research Cambridge, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.

John Francis Toland FRS FRSE is an Irish mathematician based in the UK. From 2011 to 2016 he served as Director of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences and N M Rothschild & Sons Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Sir John Stewart Savill, FRS, FMedSci is the Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC) in the UK and the Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and a Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh.

Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society fellowship of a learned society

Fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) is a fellowship granted to individuals whose application is approved by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

Anne Glover (biologist) Scottish biologist, Vice Principal at University of Aberdeen

Dame Lesley Anne Glover, is a Scottish biologist and academic. She was Professor of molecular biology and cell biology at the University of Aberdeen before being named Vice Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe. She served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014. In 2018 she joined the Principal's senior advisory team at the University of Strathclyde.

Mark Walport immunologist

Sir Mark Jeremy Walport is an English medical scientist and was the Government Chief Scientific Adviser in the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2017.

Prof Ian Naismith Sneddon FRS FRSE FIMA OBE was a Scottish mathematician who worked on analysis and applied mathematics.

James Ritchie (naturalist) British naturalist

James Ritchie CBE PRSE was a Scottish naturalist and archaeologist, who was Professor of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh 1936–52 and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1952-1958.

Wenfei Fan computer scientist

Wenfei Fan is a computer scientist and Professor of web data management at the University of Edinburgh. His research investigates database theory and database systems. He is also the director of the International Center on Big Data at Beihang University, and the director of the Huawei-Edinburgh Joint Lab for Distributed Data Management and Processing.

Iain Mattaj Director General, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, since 2005

Iain William Mattaj FRS FRSE is a British scientist and Honorary Professor at Heidelberg University in Germany. In 2018, he stepped down from Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), a position he has held since 2005. He is currently the Director of the Human Technopole.

Prof George Cunliffe McVittie FRSE FRAS OBE (1904-1988) was a British mathematician and cosmologist.

Paul Martin Sharp is Professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, where he holds the Alan Robertson chair of genetics in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology.

Harry Melville (chemist) British chemist, academic, and academic administrator

Sir Harry Work Melville, was a British chemist, academic, and academic administrator, who specialised in polymer research. He spent his early career in academia as a lecturer and researcher, before moving into administration as a civil servant and university college head.

Tracy Palmer Professor of Molecular Microbiology at the University of Dundee

Tracy Palmer is a Professor of Microbiology in the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology at Newcastle University in Tyne & Wear, England. She is known for her work on the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Anon (2016). "Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)". Edinburgh: royalsoced.org.uk.
  2. Anon (2016). "RSE Fellows as at 15/03/2016" (PDF). Edinburgh: Royal Society of Edinburgh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-30.
  3. O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F. (2016). "Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh". www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk. MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
  4. Part I
  5. Part II