Nobel Prize: Professor David MacMillan's success is the latest in a long line of Scottish successes – Angus Robertson MSP

It’s not a line you hear every day but “being Scottish helped me to win the Nobel prize” is essentially what Professor David MacMillan said the other day after clinching the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Professor David MacMillan said being Scottish had helped him to win the Nobel Prize (Picture: Bryan R Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

In what should inspire a new generation of young Scottish scientists, the groundbreaking academic, who is based at Princeton University in the United States, explained how being Scottish and knowing how to get to a punchline helped him clinch the top award.

Prof MacMillan, who is originally from North Lanarkshire, believes that growing up in Scotland helped him learn how to convey ideas quickly.

He told the BBC that he is “very, very proud” of his “working class” upbringing in New Stevenston: “You can convey ideas quickly from growing up in Scotland – you're good at it. So we were able to convey to people that this was actually a pretty interesting and valuable concept that people could use in science and it certainly helped my career and certainly helped the science move forward, but it wouldn't have happened if I was not Scottish.”

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Success wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t Scottish, says Nobel Prize winner

Together with the German scientist Benjamin List, he was jointly awarded a Nobel Prize for chemistry by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences after finding a new way of building molecules.

His research makes it possible to make medicines faster and has helped with the development of drugs for Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease.

Scotland has a total of 16 Nobel laureates, the third highest number of Nobel Laureates per head of population, after Sweden and Switzerland.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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