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Sir Robert Robinson

Sir Robert RobinsonAKA Robert Robinson

Born: 13-Sep-1886
Birthplace: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
Died: 8-Feb-1975
Location of death: Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Researcher of alkaloids

Sir Robert Robinson studied the the chemical reactions involved in forming alkaloids, and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1947. He isolated tropinone in 1917, and described the structure of morphine in 1925 and strychnine in 1946. He also studied anthocyanins (plant colorings), developed a method for synthesizing female sex hormones, and made significant contributions to the scientific understanding of the molecular structures of morphine, narcotine, and papaverine. His wife, Gertrude Maud Walsh, was also a chemist and his frequent collaborator.

He was said to have habitually scribbled complex chemical formulas on whatever surface was available, from envelopes to tablecloths to cigarette rolling papers. A chess master, he wrote a book on the game's strategy, served three years as president of the British Chess Federation, and gave frequent exhibitions playing up to a dozen opponents simultaneously.

Father: William Bradbury Robinson (medical manufacturer)
Wife: Gertrude Maud Walsh (chemist, b. 1886, m. 1912, d. 1954, one son, one daughter)
Daughter: Marion Way (physician)
Son: (disabled)
Wife: Stearn Sylvia Hershey Hillstrom (m. 1957, d. 1976)

    High School: Fulneck School, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, England (1902)
    University: BSc, University of Manchester (1906)
    University: PhD, University of Manchester (1910)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Sydney (1912-15)
    Professor: Organic Chemistry, University of Liverpool (1915-20)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of St. Andrews (1921-22)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Manchester (1922-28)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of London (1928-30)
    Professor: Waynflete Chair of Chemistry, Oxford University (1930-55)
    Professor: Chemistry, Magdalen College, Oxford University (1955-75)

    Imperial Chemical Industries Research Director, British Dyestuffs Corp. (1920-21)
    Member of the Board of Royal Dutch Shell Shell Chemical Company (1955-75)
    French Legion of Honor Commander
    Davy Medal 1930
    Royal Medal 1932
    Knight of the British Empire 1939
    Copley Medal 1942
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1947
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1947
    Order of Merit 1949
    Priestley Medal 1953
    British Association for the Advancement of Science President (1955)
    British Chess Federation President (1950-53)
    Royal Society President (1945-50)
    Royal Society of Chemistry President, British Chemical Society (1939-41)
    Royal Society of Edinburgh
    Risk Factors: Smoking

Author of books:
The Art and Science of Chess: A Step-by-Step Approach (1973, chess)


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