John Monteath Robertson ~ Crystallographer

Born on a farm near Aucterarder in 1909, John Monteath Robertson became a crystallographer of note. He studied at Edinburgh University and then joined the research team of W. H. Bragg. Robertson pioneered the investigation of the structures of organic molecules by passing X-rays through them and looking at the associated diffraction pattern. This method yielded the structure of naphthalene and oxalic acid amongst others. Later work involved large molecules. The body of work produced by John Monteath Robertson revolutionised crystallography. In 1939 he moved to Sheffield University and during part of the war years he was Chemical Advisor to Bomber Command (1941-42). From 1942 until 1970 he held a Chair at Glasgow University and built up an internationally renowned school of crystallography. He died in 1989.