Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Arber, Agnes Robertson (England 1879-1960)
plant morphology

Agnes Arber, the third woman to be elected to the Royal Society of London, lived a productive life of science under a number of professional situations until about 1927, when she retired to the life of a single mother and researcher working with little financial support out of her personal home. Arber's interest in plants began early and continued through her college studies; her career was then given a boost when she became a research assistant to Ethel Sargant in 1902. She became interested in the monocotyledons, on which group she published extensively over the next thirty years. Later in her career she became interested in the history and philosophy of science, and over the last fifteen years of her life produced four books and a number of papers in these areas which entertained subjects ranging from the theory of classification to the metaphysics of Spinoza and Goethe.

Life Chronology

--born in London on 23 February 1879.
--1894: publishes her first work
--1897-1899: studies at University College, London, earning her B.Sc. in 1899
--1899-1902: studies at Newnham College, Cambridge
--1902-1903: research assistant to Ethel Sargant at private lab at Quarry Hill, Reigate
--1903-1908: Quain student in biology at University College, London; D.Sc. in 1905
--1908: made a fellow of the Linnean Society of London
--1908-1909: holds lectureship in botany at University College, London
--1909-1927: works at the Balfour Laboratory in Cambridge
--1912: publishes her Herbals, Their Origin and Evolution
--1912-1913: research fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge
--1918-1920: research fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge
--1920: publishes her Water Plants: A Study of Aquatic Angiosperms
--1925: publishes her Monocotyledons: A Morphological Study
--1927-1960: conducts her research alone, at a private laboratory in her home
--1934: publishes her The Gramineae: A Study of Cereal, Bamboo, and Grass
--1946: elected to The Royal Society of London
--1948: awarded the Linnean Society's Gold Medal; named a corresponding member of the Botanical Society of America
--1950: publishes her The Natural Philosophy of Plant Form
--1954: publishes her The Mind and the Eye: a Study of the Biologist's Standpoint
--dies at Cambridge, England, on 22 March 1960.

For Additional Information, See:


--Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 6 (1960): 1-11.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 1 (1970).
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 2 (2004).
--Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Vol. 1 (1995).
--Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 51(1) (1997): 87-104.
--Taxon, Vol. 9(9) (1960): 261-263.
--Annals of Botany, Vol. 88(6) (2001): 1105-1128.
--American Scientist, Vol. 63 (1975): 430-437.

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

Copyright 2007 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

Return to Home/Alphabetical Listing by Name
Return to Listing by Country
Return to Listing by Discipline