James Johnston Dobbie

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James Johnston Dobbie, (Born: 4 August 1852, Glasgow; Died: 19 June 1924, Fairlie) was known for the isolation, chemical structure, and physical properties (especially UV and visible spectra) of alkaloids. He isolated hydroxycodeine from opium and synthesized diphenylene. He carried out UV-VIS spectra of gaseous main group elements and organic compounds.

He received his DSc in 1879 from the University of Edinburgh under William Ramsay. However the DSc work was carried out at the University of Glasgow, but since Glasgow did not award science degrees at the time, the DSc degree was awarded at Edinburgh.

Dobbie was appointed first head of chemistry at Bangor University, then the University College of North Wales, in 1884 and built the department up in its early years. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1904.[1] He was director of the Royal Scottish Museum from 1903 to 1909, and principal of the Government Laboratory, London from 1909 to 1920.[2] He was appointed President in the Royal Institute of Chemistry from 1915–1917 and was elected president of the Chemical Society in 1919. He was knighted in 1915.[3]


  1. ^ "DOBBIE, Jas. J.". Who's Who, 59: p. 492. 1907. 
  2. ^ His predecessor as principal chemist of the Government Laboratory was Edward Thorpe.
  3. ^ Royal Society of Chemistry archive of his obituary
  • J. Chem. Soc. Trans. 1924, 125, pp. 2681–2690.
  • Proc. Roy. Soc. A 1925, 107, pp. vi-viii.
  • Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970–1990, vol. 11, p. 278b.
  • J. R. Partington, A History of Chemistry, Macmillan, 1964, vol. 4, p. 840.
  • Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 1952, 81, pp. 47–49.