Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that Professor Sheila Rowan, from Glasgow University, will take on the role, which has been vacant for 18 months.
It comes after the university’s Institute for Gravitational Research, which Professor Rowan leads, was part of a global research programme which led to the discovery of gravitational waves, the existence of which was first predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago.
Professor Rowan said: “This is an exciting time to join the Scottish Government and I’m looking forward to working with ministers and officials to show the added value that science advice can bring to their work.
“I’m also keen to meet scientists across Scotland so that I can fully appreciate the potential impact of new developments in science, engineering and technology.”
Professor Anton Muscatelli, university principal and vice-chancellor, said: “Professor Sheila Rowan is an outstanding scientist as was shown through the work she and her team contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves – one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs in recent decades.”
Mr Swinney said he was “delighted” to welcome Prof Rowan to the role and added: “As chief scientific adviser Professor Rowan will help to ensure that science informs the Scottish Government’s work and advise on the impact that new developments in science may have.”