College of Science & Engineering

KB100: 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.

KB100 logo

In 2020 we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the King's Buildings campus with a programme of events and activities, and we invite current and former staff and students to help contribute to the occasion.

Aerial shot of KB Campus
The campus today

A celebration

KB100 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 KB: 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.


KB Aerial photo 1921
The King's Buildings campus in early 1921, with the Chemistry building under construction.

Centenary themes

We are developing a range of events and outcomes for KB100, and at the start of next year we will publish the schedule for the centenary, which begins on July 6th with a Royal visit (to be confirmed later this year), and runs until the end of June 2021, with most of the activities taking place in the 2020/21 academic year.

During this period a series of lectures will take place in which leading figures from each School will present talks covering the history of research at the College: a mixture of past, present and future predications. These talks will be bookended by keynote lectures (currently under discussion), discussing the challenges facing the University in the next century.

In September of next year we will undertake the largest public engagement event ever held in the University, when Doors Open Day is extended to include all Schools, with public events at KB and elsewhere. In June of 2021 we will close the centenary period with a major event for local schools, with lab visits, talks and presentations.

One core component of KB100 involves the collection of biographical material for a gallery of notable scientists and staff: images and biographies, suitable for an interactive gallery, for publication, or online (past and present, and looking to the future). An associated ‘100objects’ publication and exhibition will also be unveiled.

We are conducting interviews with alumni, staff and students, as the beginning of a permanent archive of video and audio materials reflecting the history of science at the University over the last hundred years.

Two student-led projects are underway. First, we will open the UncoverED@KB exhibition, which extends the work of the current UncoverED project, examining the history of international students in the College over the century. A second project involves the creation by students of a Community Permaculture Garden at the rear of Murchison House; more information will be provided as this project unfolds.

We also have the opportunity to showcase the careful ways in which we carry out land management at KB, and to investigate campus flora and fauna, showing the changing campus throughout the year, and highlighting the hundreds of species of trees, or land management issues, with a discussion of future plans.

kb100 photo comp

The Centenary photography competition

As part of our KB100 celebrations we are announcing a photography competition for College staff and students to showcase life and work in the College of Science and Engineering.


The KB100 photography competition


King's Buildings countdown clock
The KB100 countdown clock: exactly two years until 2pm, 6th July 2020.

The Countdown Clock

Mounted above the entrance to the Murray LIbrary, the KB100 countdown clock has been set to show the number of seconds until 2pm on the 6th of July 2020: it will count down to zero exactly one hundred years to the second since the first stone was laid by George V, at which time we will celebrate with an event to mark the passing of the century, and looking ahead to the next.


Gathering Information: can you help?

Do you have information or materials that might contribute to the event? Or would you like to be part of the centenary research or preparations? If so, we would be delighted if you would get in touch.

If you would like to be kept up-to-date with the forthcoming plans and events for the centenary, click on the KB100 mailing list subscription button below:


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