John Monteath Robertson

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John Monteath Robertson FRS FRSE PCS CBE LLD (1900–1989) was a 20th-century Scottish chemist and crystallographer. He was the recipient of the Davy Medal in 1960 and president of the Chemical Society from 1962 to 1964.


He was born on 24 July 1900 at Nether Fordun farm near Auchterarder[1] the son of William Robertson, farmer, and his wife, Jeannie Monteath. He was educated at Auchterarder Primary School then Perth Academy. He then studied chemistry at Glasgow University graduating BSc in 1923, MA in 1925. He then continued as a postgraduate gaining his first doctorate (PhD) in 1926.

In 1926 he began work as a researcher at the Royal Institution in London. In 1928 he obtained a post at the University of Michigan in the United States, but returned to the Royal Institution in 1930. In 1939 he moved to Sheffield University as senior lecturer in physical chemistry. From 1942 he was professor of chemistry at Glasgow University.

This was interrupted by the Second World War (from 1942) he served as chemical advisor to Bomber Command and scientific advisor to the RAF.

In 1943 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were James Wilfred Cook, Thomas Alty, Edward Hindle, John Walton and James Pickering Kendall. In 1945 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. In 1962 he was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1963 he received an honorary doctorate (LLD) from Aberdeen University.[2]

He retired in 1970 and died in Inverness on 27 December 1989.


In 1930 he married Stella Kennard (née Nairn).


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  2. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.