College of Science & Engineering

KB101: celebrating a century of science and engineering

On 6th July 1920, King George V laid the foundation stone for the first of the buildings that would form part of The University of Edinburgh's new Science campus, relocated from its former Old College premises.

KB101 will be a celebration of University scientific history and contribution, but it's about much more than a collection of buildings or the geography of The King's Buildings: it's about our scientists and the discoveries they have made that have changed the world. We will celebrate our history of achievements with links to current achievers and links to recruitment messages around who will be the next generation to stand on the shoulders of these giants.

The covid pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, led us to postpone the centenary for one year, becoming KB101 and running instead for the academic year 2021/22.

King George V opening Kings Buildings
King George V opening Kings Buildings 6 July 1920

Centenary events 

We are announcing our events programme in three phases to allow us planning flexibility regarding potential future Covid-19 restriction changes. Below is phase 1 of the programme showing events that have now been confimed.

We’ll follow up with more programme announcements at the start of the new semester, and then in January 2022.


Summary of confirmed events (phase I)

Date Event name
25 September 2021 Campus History Exhibition (online)
20–25 September 2021 Explorathon 2021
25/26 September 2021 Doors Open Day 2021
Mid-November 2021 Centenary Artwork opening events
October 2021–June 2022 Centenary Lecture series
December 2021 UncoverED@KB exhibition opening
April 2022 College History exhibition
May 2022 100objects exhibition
May–June 2022 KB Permaculture Garden opening
June 2022 Lab Visit week (TBC)
Oct 2022 KB photography competition results


The College Centenary Lecture Series

The following series of lectures will take place over the coming year, in which leading figures from Schools and centres will present talks covering the history of research at the College: a mixture of past, present and future predications. The talks will close with a keynote lecture discussing the challenges facing the University in the next century.


Date Area Speaker(s) Title
17 Nov 2021 Informatics Prof Philip Wadler & Dr Ajitha Rajan Is Computing an Experimental Science?
1 December 2021 Physics & Astronomy

Prof Richard Kenway and Prof Catherine Heymans

The Universe: Reality or Simulation? 
15 December GeoSciences Dr Isla Myers-Smith Edinburgh’s Climate Enlightenment: A 300-year scientific journey
19 January 2022 EPCC 

Prof Mark Parsons

To the Exascale and beyond: the history and future of supercomputing 
25 February 2022 Biological Sciences

Prof Andrew Millar

The Coming Century of Biology:  Growing a way to Sustainability 
16 March 2022 Engineering 

Prof Robin Wallace

Renewable Energy: Edinburgh’s first (and second) half-centuries 
13 April 2022 Mathematics

Prof Des Higham & Dr Amy Wilson

When Ideas meet Data: Connections across Mathematics and Statistics 
25 May 2022 Chemistry

Dr Nicholle Bell

From pioneering discoveries to protecting our planet: Edinburgh's School of Chemistry 
June 2022 Closing lecture

Prof Ann Glover

Opinion versus Fact: the challenges facing Universities in the next century 


Katie Paterson portrait photo
Katie Paterson. Photo: Neil Hanna Photography for Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Centenary Art Commission 

As part of the KB101 programme, the College of Science and Engineering commissioned a permanent work of art by the internationally renowned artist Katie Paterson. 

Chosen by a panel following a competitive selection process, Paterson has been working since 2019 on this new and ambitious artwork 'Ideas' which will take the form of one hundred three-line texts cut in stainless steel (each an ‘Idea’), that will be situated in a variety of locations in and around the KB campus. 


Read more about the KB101 Art Commission


Permaculture Garden Logo



The KB Permaculture Garden 

The King’s Building Permaculture Garden, currently under construction and to be opened in June 2022, is a student-led project aiming to create a platform that allows the University and other communities to connect around a growing space at the rear of Murchison House. The design of the garden and the organisation of the social aspects are all inspired by the Permaculture principles. You can find out more about the project at their blog and social media channels: 

Blog site




UncoverED logo


UncoverEd II: Science and Engineering 1920–2020 

Opening December 2021 

As part of the centenary programme, the College has commissioned a student-led project called UncoverEd II, as a sequel to the current UncoverEd exhibition, which was hosted at Chrystal Macmillan Building, and an online version of which is at the link below.


 UncoverEd is a collaborative and decolonising research project, which aims to situate the ‘global’ status of the University of Edinburgh in its rightful imperial and colonial context. We believe this work is important because the University has a long and largely under-interrogated global history with deep imperial and colonial implications, many of which continue to the present day. This project encourages the University of Edinburgh’s community to reflect on its imperial past and how it played a part in Edinburgh’s status as a ‘global’ university.

UncoverED creator


The UncoverED II exhibition, which will concentrate on the history of BAME students in the College over the past century, will be launched in December of 2021. An exhibition space has been laid out in the foyer of Murchison House; the exhibition will also be posted online.


UncoverED exhibition


Public Engagement Events

We will be undertaking a series of Public Engagement events as part of KB101. This includes Doors Open Day and Explorathon 2021, Lab visit week and exhibitions showcasing the campus and College history.


More information on our Public Engagement Events



kb101 photo comp

The Centenary photography competition 

As part of our KB101 celebrations we have announced a photography competition for College staff and students to showcase life and work in the College of Science and Engineering. The closing date for the competition has been changed to October 2022; full details are at the link below. 


The KB101 photography competition


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