Life History

Agnes Robertson Arber (1879-1960) was a British botanist and author

Biography of Agnes Arber and Discovery

Agnes Arber Birth

Agnes Robertson Arber was born on February 23, 1879, in London, England.

Agnes Arber Accomplishments

Agnes Robertson Arber (1879-1960) was a British botanist and plant morphologist?

Publishing "Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution," a seminal work on the history of botanical illustration and the use of plants in medicine, which remains an important reference for botanical historians.

Conducted pioneering research on the anatomy and development of the apical meristem, the growing tip of a plant stem.

Proposed a new theory of the origin of vascular tissue in plants, which was later confirmed by other scientists.

Agnes Arber's work laid the foundation for modern plant anatomy and helped to establish botany as a legitimate field of scientific inquiry.

Agnes Arber Family Background

Father Henry Robert Robertson & Mother Agnes Lucy Turner as their first child Agnes Arber and had three younger siblings

Donald Struan Robertson was a well-known classical scholar and academic who specialized in the study of Apuleius. He was a professor at the University of Cambridge and held the Regius Professorship of Greek for 22 years. Robertson's expertise and contributions to the field of Classics have earned him recognition and respect in the academic community.

Janet Robertson is known as a great painter

Margaret Hills. She was a notable figure in British history for her work as a teacher, suffragist organizer, feminist, and socialist. Her political activism and involvement in local government as the first female councillor on Stroud Urban District Council and later as a Councillor on Gloucestershire County Council demonstrate her commitment to promoting women's rights and social justice. Margaret Hills' legacy continues to inspire future generations to pursue activism and political engagement.

Agnes Arber Education

It seems that Agnes Robertson Arber had a passion for botany from a young age and was fortunate to have had supportive teachers and mentors who nurtured her talent and interests. She was academically talented, winning scholarships and prizes, and went on to achieve advanced degrees in botany from two prestigious universities. Her early education and experiences likely played a significant role in her later success as a renowned botanist and plant morphologist.

She was educated at Downe Girls' School and Newnham College, Cambridge.

Agnes Robertson Arber received her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Botany from the University of Cambridge in 1899.

Agnes Robertson Arber received her D.Sc. degree in 1905, which recognized her achievements and contributions to the field of botany

Agnes Robertson Arber also held an M.A. degree, in addition to her D.Sc

Arber was the first woman to receive a Cambridge science PhD in botany

Agnes Arber Career

She was the first woman to be awarded a professorship in botany at a British university and was also one of the first women to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. She made important contributions to the field of plant anatomy and physiology, and her work helped to lay the foundation for modern plant science.

Agnes Arber was the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in science from the University of Cambridge

She was awarded a Research Fellowship by Newnham College and published her first book "Herbals, their origin and evolution" in 1912, which is still considered the standard work for the history of Herbals. Arber focused her research on the anatomy and morphology of monocot plants and published two more books: "Water Plants: A Study of Aquatic Angiosperms" in 1920 and "The Monocotyledons" in 1925. She used comparative anatomy to investigate questions in botany and distinguished between "pure" and "applied" morphology in her work.

 In 1921, she accepted the annual position as president of the botany section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, but soon resigned after some members indicated that they did not want two successive women presidents.

 In 1926, she was offered the presidency again, but did not accept.

Agnes Arber Awards

Agnes Robertson Arber received several awards and recognitions throughout her career, including:

L. H. Bailey Prize from the National Council of Women of Great Britain in 1929.

Isaac Newton Medal for Science Writing from the Royal Society of Literature (1938)

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1942, becoming the first woman to receive this honor for botany.

L Lindley Memorial Prize from the Royal Horticultural Society (1944)

Bronze Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1950.

Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London in 1958.

Royal Medal from the Royal Society (1958)

Named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1959.

Order of Merit (1959)

Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1962)

These awards and recognitions recognize her contributions to the field of botany, including her studies on the anatomy and morphology of flowering plants

Agnes Arber Personal Life

Agnes Robertson Arber married Edward Alexander Newell Arber in 1909. She left University College London in 1909 after getting married to Edward Arber, who was a fellow researcher at Cambridge. They lived in a rented house at 52 Huntingdon Road She received a research fellowship at Newnham College in 1912. They had one daughter, Muriel, born in 1913. Sadly, her husband Edward died in 1918, and she raised their daughter Muriel Agnes as a single parent.

Agnes Arber Death

Agnes Arber died on 22 March 1960 at the age of 81 and was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's in Girton, a village near Cambridge, England.

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