John Monteath Robertson, C.B.E., F.R.S. (1900-1989)

Gardiner Professor of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, 1942-70

JM Robertson portraitJohn Monteath Robertson ("JM") was a pioneer in the field of X-ray crystallography and the founder of organic crystallography. Among many other achievements, he is noted for the development of heavy-atom and isomorphous-replacement methods for solving the phase problem in chemical crystallography, thereby laying the foundations for subsequent determination of the structures of proteins and other biological macromolecules by X-ray diffraction.

In 1939 (Nature, 143, 75) he predicted that the structure of insulin would be solved in this way - a task finally accomplished by Dorothy Hodgkin and her Oxford group in 1969.

Gardiner Professor 1942-70
F.R.S. 1945
Royal Society Council 1954-56
Davy Medal 1960
CBE 1962
Longstaff Medal of the Chemical Society 1966
Paracelsus Medal of the Swiss Chemical Society 1971
Gregori Aminoff Medal 1962
President of the Chemical Society 1962-64