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They are the Scots inventors who changed the world with their brilliance and earned their small home nation a global reputation.

Pioneers such as Sir Alexander Fleming, John Logie Baird and Victorian chemist Dr James Young are ranked among the greatest innovators of our time.

Passionate nationalists would claim them as their own while dyed–in–the–wool unionists would insist they were the product of a truly Great Britain.

But what would some of our most famous sons really make of the prospect of Scottish independence?

Here, LESLEY ROBERTS tracks down their closest–living descendants to find out.

Logie Btird was veryxnternatxonal


JOHN LOGIE BAIRD August 14,1888–June 14,1946 invented television

There's a small TV positioned discreetly in the corner of Diana Richardson's front room.

The 81–year–old doesn't watch it much despite being involved in some of the earliest experiments that would ultimately give television to the world.

Her father was John Logie Baird, the Helensburghborn TV pioneer and the first person to successfully transmit live images.

Sixty–eight years after his death, Diana is considering using her own television to follow the progress of another momentous development in history–the results of the referendum vote on September 18.

But she'll be by no means glued to the screen. At her home in Lanarkshire, Diana said: "My husband Norman and I will probably stay up till midnight to see how it's going but then we'll head to bed.

"We'll find out who won from the wireless in the morning."

As a child in the 1930s, Diana recalls being invited into her dad's London laboratory to watch as he demonstrated his breakthrough colour television using the head of a ventriloquist's dummy he had nicknamed Stookie Bill.

She said: "I was about five at the time and my brother Malcolm was three years younger. It was very exciting for us.

"We watched the picture appear on the screen. Stookie Bill was in red and blue so my father could demonstrate the colour. He would love to see where TV is today."

Diana remembers her father's strong Scottish accent and his love of his homeland – despite conducting much of his significant research while based in London.

Baird suffered ill health all his life and died in 1946 at the age of 57 at his home in East Sussex.

Then 13–year–old Diana and her brother moved to Scotland.

Today, she is doubtful that he would be keen to dismantle the UK.

She said: "My father would be thinking about how good it would be for television. That's the way he saw things.

"He always had an eye across the Atlantic and my mother was South African so he was rather international.

"This is such a small island. I think it would be a pity to chop it up."

Fleming wouldn't want separation


SIR ALEXANDER FLEMING August 6,1881 – March 11,1955 Discovered penicillin

Retired GP Robert Fleming puts the fact he's reached the age of 90 down to the good Scottish blood he inherited from his famous father.

He is the son of Alexander Fleming, the Ayrshire–born scientist whose discovery of penicillin won him a Nobel Prize for medicine as well as a place in history as one of the most famous Scots of all time.

Robert, Fleming's only child, was just four at the time of his dad's most important discovery.

Today, at his home in, Suffolk, he's certain he knows how the great man would feel about the prospect of an independent Scotland.

Robert said: "I don't think he would have been at all happy. He was very much about Great Britain.

"He was born in Darvel and proud to be an Ayrshireman. He belonged to the London Ayrshire Society.

"We used to go up and down visiting the old farm back in Darvel. But he was overall pro– Britain.

"I don't think he would be happy about Scotland being separated once again like it was in the black ages. This is turning the book back hundreds of years."

From humble beginnings on an Ayrshire farm, Fleming went on to revolutionise medicine, laying the foundations for They are the Scots inventors who changed the world with their brilliance and earned their small home nation a global reputation.

Pioneers such as Sir Alexander Fleming, John Logie Baird and Victorian chemist Dr James Young are ranked among the greatest innovators of our time.

Passionate nationalists would claim them as modern antibiotics and ultimately saving millions of lives every year.

He went to school in Kilmarnock but went on to study medicine at St Mary's Hospital in London after being left an inheritance by an uncle.

During Word War I, he worked in hospitals at the Western Front, tending to the gravely injured and witnessing hundreds of deaths to infection.

He was working in his lab at St Mary's in 1928 when he came across the fungus or "mould juice" which would ultimately be identified–and named by himas penicillin.

Robert remembers his father as a modest man who often found the attention and accolades difficult to handle.

After his death of a heart attack in 1955, at the age of 73, his ashes were interred in St Paul's Cathedral alongside great figures from British history.

Robert said: "I presented all my father's medals – including the Nobel Prizeto the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. They had to go to a museum and I just felt that Scotland was the right place for them.

"But I still think Scotland should remain a member of the United Kingdom.

"That's my own opinion and I think that's what my father would have felt."

Young never forgot hive root


JAMES YOUNG July 13,1811– May13,1883 Invented paraffin

Known as the world's first oil tycoon, Dr James Young, from Glasgow, was a brilliant chemist who made a fortune from his breakthrough discovery – and invested much of it in Scotland.

He devised a way of extracting paraffin from oil and in 1850 set up a refinery at Bathgate, West Lothian, nine years before any existed in America. His great–great–granddaughter Mary Leitch has spent years researching her ancestor–and she believes he may have been convinced to vote for independence.

Retired science teacher Mary, 70, said: "I suspect he might be inclined to a Yes vote.

"He was very independent and set off and did things without expecting others to help. I think that might influence his way of thinking –that maybe we could have a goof it ourselves.

"There's a lot to indicate that he might well have voted Yes."

Young's discovery of how to extract paraffin and other useful fuels from oil gave the world cheap access to light.

Born a carpenter's son in 1811, he went on to found Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company, selling paraffin and lamps all over the globe. Although he was an enthusiastic traveller, visiting Italy and France, and he started his career in Manchester, Mary believes she knows where his heart lay.

She said: "He certainly didn't forget his Scottish education or roots. He ploughed back what he made and he did that in Scotland. He funded a chair in technical chemistry at Anderson's College –now Strathclyde University.

"He was interested in all sorts of Scottish people and the things going on in his country." Young visited isolated communities in the Western Isles to see how communities coped with their environments.

He built workers' houses near his Bathgate refinery because he could see there was a shortage of affordable property. Mary, who lives in Crieff, Perthshire, added: "He also produced candles that were cheap so everyone could have light after dark.

"He was an interesting, worldly–wise man. But I suspect he would also stand up for Scotland and support home first rather than anything else."

Blunkett Win or face wilderness

Labour could be in the political wilderness until 2030 if they fail to win next year's general election, former Cabinet minister David Blunkett warned yesterday.

He spoke out after announcing his intention to stand down as an M P.

He claimed a Tory victory in 2015 would result in a government focused on "excluding the Labour Party" and keeping it out of office "for as much as 15 years".

But Blunkett said he believed Ed Miliband would take Labour to election victory and was the "only man" for the job of leading the party.

Dan pans Yes jobs

Danny Alexander says Alex Salmond's lastminute costings on independence reveal the Yes campaign is in turmoil. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury was reacting to news that civil servants are being hired to cost set up of independence.

FM PS6m to help teens go straight

Youngpeopleleavingprisonwill receive mentoring to turn their back on crime and contribute to society with support from an PS8million grant. Scottish Government have contributed PS6million to the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund, which also received aPS2million boost from The Robertson Trust charitable organisation. First Minister Alex Salmond said providing mentoring schemes would help offenders mov e from a life of crime.

store bosses leave taxes alone

Scottish ministers are being urged to keep rates competitive with the rest of the UK when using newly devolved tax powers.

Retail chiefs have called on Holyrood to keep new landfill tax charges "no higher than in the rest of the UK" when Scotland becomes responsible for them in 2015. The Scottish Retail Consortium also said ministers should "caution" against any changes which would mean people in Scotland paying more in income tax than those living in the rest of the UK when limited powers over income tax are handed to Edinburgh in 2016.

We'll stay up to see how the vote is going but will nd out who won from the wireless in the morning


TV PIONEER John Logie Baird with his son Malcolm in 1938

DISCOVERY Penicillin mould

TESTS Alexander Fleming


PROU PR D SCOT COT James Young who invented paraffin

RAP Alexander RAP

SUPPORT RT R Alex Salmond

MEMORIES Inventor Baird's daughter Diana
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 22, 2014
Previous Article:Around the world in a Ford.

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